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BY K. M. PANIKKAB 


Asia and Western Dominance 
The Founding of the Kashmir State 
India and the Indian Ocean 



K. M. PANIKKAR 


In Two Chinas 

Memoirs 
of a D ip I o^fCa 


☆ 


LONDON 

GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD 


RUSKIN HOUSE MUSEUM STREET 



FIRST PUBLISHED IN I955 


Tilts book is copyright under the Berne Convention, 
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of 
private study, research, criticism or review, as 
permitted under the Copyright Act, 1911 , no portion 
may be reproduced by any process xvithout written 
permission. Enquiry should be made to the publishers, 
@ George Allen and Unwin Lid 1955 


PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 

in 12 point Bemho type 

BY UNWIN BROTHERS LTD 
WOKING AND LONDON 



FOREWORD 


No attempt is made in the present volume to give a coimected 
history of the period between 1948 and 1952 when I was in China 
successively as Ambassador of India to the National Government 
at Nanking and later to the People’s Republic of China in Peking, 
It is no more than a record of personal experiences and impressions 
during what was undoubtedly a most critical period of Chiuese 
history. The final stages in the break-down of the Kuomintang 
regime took place, so to say, before my very eyes. It was also given 
to me to witness the rise of the new Chinese State. More signi- 
ficantly, it fell to me to be associated with all the negotiations 
relating to the Korean war during the first difficult days preceding 
the Chinese intervention hi Korea and the discussions for a cease- 
fire, which, though abortive at the time, laid the foundations for 
the agreement negotiated two years later. 

I need not add specifically that the views expressed in the book 
are entirely personal and should not in any way be considered as 
reflecting the opinions of the Government of India. 

I have also to acknowledge with gratitude the assistance I have 
received from Mr. Shiv Shastri and Mr. R. C. Asthana in the 
difficult but necessary task of proof-reading. I am also grateful 
to Mr. Geoffirey Hudson, Fellow of St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, 
for helping me with the proper spelling of Chinese names. 


LONDON, 

March 21, 1955. 


K. M. Panikkar 



CONTENTS 


I 

India’s Ambassador to China 

page 7 

n 

Nanking under Cltiang Kai-shek 

19 

nr 

The Collapse of the Nanking Regime 

32 

IV 

Trapped in Nanking 

51 

V 

An Interlude in India 

64 

vr 

Arrival in Communist Peking 

74 

vn 

Official Receptions 

88 

vm 

Life in Peking. I 

92 

IX 

Korea 

102 

X Life in Peking. II 

125 

XI 

A Tour in the Interior 

143 

xn 

The End of a Mission 

165 


Index 

180 



CHAPTER I 


INDIA’S AMBASSADOR 
TO CHINA 

I HAD been told by Sarojini Naidu a few months before the 
declaration of independence that Prime Minister Nehru had 
decided to post me abroad as ambassador as soon as the work 
of securing the accession of the princely states to the Union of 
India was completed. The main brunt of that work which was to 
create a united India out of the patchwork of provinces and 
princely states had fallen on ICrishnamachari and myself. With the 
active support of Lord Mountbatten, then not only Governor- 
General but also the representative of the Crown in its relations 
with Indian Rulers, we were able by negotiations with national 
leaders to fill the vacuum created by the aboUtion of the para- 
moimtcy of the British Crown over these states and bring about 
their peaceful accession before the 15th of August, 1947, the date 
fixed for the termination of British authority in India. 

A few days before the 15 th of August, I had been invited to join 
the Indian delegation to the General Assembly of the United 
Nations which was to meet in New York by the middle of 
September. As this was the first international conference at which 
independent India was being represented, I was particularly happy 
that the Prime Minister had selected me to join the delegation 
which was to be led by Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit. The Maharaja 
of Bikaner willingly agreed to my deputation. But unexpected 
difficulties arose at the last moment. The partition of India had led 
to an upheaval which no one had anticipated. The unfortunate 
provitice.of the Punjab was up in flames. Muslims in the border 
areas of the.Indian Union and Hindus and Sikhs in West Pakistan 
suddenly found themselves forcibly uprooted and driven away 
from their homes. The inhuman cruelty, deliberate massacres and 
large-scale relapse info atavistic barbarism which were displayed on 



8 


IN TWO CHINAS 

both sides are only painiul memories now. But they shocked the 
world at the time. The State of Bikaner of which I was the Prime 
Minister was situated in the very centre of these troubles. To the 
north and east of it lay East Punjab where Hindus and Sikhs had 
joined l^ds against the Muslims and were indulging in murder, 
loot and arson. To the west of it lay Bahawalpur in Pakistan, where 
on one single day five thousand Hindus had been massacred. From 
aU over Pakistan, Hindu and Si]^ refugees were pouring into the 
State. The Mushm population in Bikaner itself was in a state of 
panic. I was well aware that if I did not stop the conflagration on 
the borders of Bikaner and prevent it fiom spreading, it could not 
be stopped and would reach as far as Bombay with consequences 
which no one could foresee. The demand in Bikaner for expelling 
the Muslims to Pakistan was mounting. In the irrigated part of tlie 
State, known as Ganga Nagar, there was a powerful Sikh 
community, and in view of what their brethren in the Punjab had 
suffered they were thirsting for the blood of the Muslims. To add 
to my troubles, many thousands of refugees from the neighbouring 
State of Bahawalpur inPakistan hadalso entered that areaandadded 
fuel to the fire. 

I was determined at all costs to prevent the trouble spreading 
into Bikaner, not merely because of humanitarian considerations, 
but because I was well aware of the consequences of arousing the 
dormant anti-Muslim feeling of the Rajputs, and I knew that if 
there was the least weakening on my part Rajputana would 
repeat, perhaps in an exaggerated form, the terrible history of tlie 
Punjab. The Maharaja, Sadul Singh, fully supported me in this 
view, and when the first news arrived of troubles in the Punjab, 
with the Maharaja’s permission I sent the best part of the State 
Army to the Ganga Canal area on the Punjab and Bahawalpur 
firontier. I toured the area personally and made it clear that die State 
- would not tolerate any attack on its Muslim subjects, that the army 
had orders to shoot rioters, and that the civil authorities were 
empowered to impose collective fines and confiscate land. Widiin 
a week the situation had become so quiet that I thought I would be 
able with, a dear consdence to join ^e delegation and go to New 
York. 



India’s ambassador to china 9 

'*'L 

But in the first week of September a new and more frightening 
situation arose. Though the State was unusually calm and there had 
not been a single incident, news reached me that on different spots 
on the border thousands of Muslim refugees were collecting in 
camps with the intention of marching through Bikaner to Pakistan. 
These refugees, totalling 80,000 in three camps, were threatening 
to cross into Bikaner territory. The military guards provided by 
die Government of India for these camps were altogether in- 
adequate as the bulk of the Indian Army was still in Pakistan and 
the available forces in India were required for more important 
work. Bands of organized hooligans bent on attacking the refugee 
camps were known to be in the vidnity and it was obvious to me 
that, if large-scale trouble broke out between them, the refugees 
would forcibly enter the State at different points and cause con- 
fusion. I tried my best to persuade the Government of India to 
provide trains for evacuating these menacing groups. I undertook 
even to put railway wagons at their disposal if the Government 
could find military guards for the trains. Harried and harassed by 
the problem of a few mOlion Hindu and Sikh refugees uprooted 
and driven out of their homes in the Punjab, the Government of 
India was in no position to help me. Seeing how matters stood and 
how every hour the situation was becoming more dangerous at 
different points on the frontier, I took, on my own responsibility, 
a very risky decision. I decided to offer to escort the refugees 
across the State, partly by special trains over the Bikaner State 
Railway and partly on foot across the sands of Bikaner. It was a 
difficult decision to take, as public opinion in the State was greatly 
inflamed and in the Ganga Nagar area through which they had to 
pass there were many thousand refugees from Pakistan all crying 
for vengeance. When I explained the position to the Maharaja, he 
agreed SitEusiastically and made it widely known that any 
interference with the passenger trains carrying Muslims to 
Pakistan, either by the people of the State or by the refugees, 
would meet with his stem displeasure. The first convoy went 
across to Pakistan safely without a single incident. Taking courage, 
I then ordered a second convoy, this time on foot, with only poHce 
escort, to march across the State. The organization necessary for 



10 


IN TWO CHINAS 

marching a few thousand people, including women and children, 
over 200 miles in sand was very considerable. Food and water had 
to be provided; the local population had to be kept away, and 
precautions had at all times to be taken that there was no surprise 
attack by angry Hindu refugees. When this weary procession also 
reached Pakistan I heaved a sigh of rehef The Mahar^a was also 
extremely happy. He felt pride in the fact that his was the only 
State where not only no anti-Muslim incidents had taken place, 
but where conditions were so normal that thousands of Muslim 
refugees could be convoyed across with only a police escort. He 
felt that the situation was normal and that I could now safely go to 
New York to take part in the work of the General Assembly. 

. The strain of the last few weeks had been terrible and I was 
myself satisfied after a tour of the State that nothing serious was 
likely to happen. So I left Bikaner on the 17 th of September for 
New York, breaking the journey in London for two days in order 
to discuss matters with Krishna Menon and other friends. When 
I reached New York, the Assembly had already been in session for 
a week, and my place in the delegation had been temporarily 
filled by Bidhan Chandra Roy, later Chief Minister of Bengal, 
who then happened to be in New York. 

The delegation consisted of Airs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit, leader. 
Raja Maharaj Singh (later Governor of Bombay), Mr, Fazl Ali, 
Chief Justice of the Pama High Court, Mr. Setalwad, Advocate- 
General of India, B. Shiva Rao, and myself, with a ^oup of 
distinguished alternates and advisers. From die beginning Mrs. 
Pandit showed her trust in me, for on the very day of my arrival 
she asked me to accompany her to a conversation with Manuelsky, 
the veteran Bolshevik who was the leader of the Ukraman delega- 
tion to the General Assembly. We motored down from Lake 
Success to an immense and palatial estabhshment some miles 
away. After an elaborate lunch we settled down to a talk. Mrs. 
Pandit had asked of him the reason for the less cordial attitude of 
the Soviet Union to the Indian delegation this year. Manuelsky 
was frank. “What is your interest in Korea and Greece? To us 
these are vital areas for our defence. Why should India interest 
herse^ against our interest in these matters?” — ^such was the 



India’s ambassador to china ii 

general line of Ins argument. It was clear that Russia had 
become uncertain of India’s attitude and was generally suspicious 
of our approach to questions of vital interest to her. 

The 1947 session of the General Assembly constituted in many 
ways the great dividing line. It was the first meeting after the 
Marshall Plan had been put into efiect. It was the last meeting 
before the changes in Czechoslovakia, which transformed that 
country into a People’s Democracy witliin the framework of 
Soviet defence. The East-W est rivalry was in process of becoming 
crystallized and the Soviet bloc was making a serious effort to show 
the world that America and the Western Allies were moving 
away definitely from the wartime agreements which in their 
opinion constituted the bases of the United Nations. The Korean 
and the Greek issues provided them with ammunition for their 
attack. The Soviet position in regard to Korea was a simple one. 
Its attitude was that the General Assembly by its charter was 
incompetent to discuss issues relating to war settlement; that Korea 
was one of tlie subjects which was reserved for settlement by 
discussion between the four great powers in the East, U.S.A., 
Britain, Soviet Union and China; and that the Assembly was 
usurping powers by bringing the case of Korea on its agenda. In 
regard to Greece, Manuelsky took the view that the problem was 
one of Anglo-American intervention in the mtemal politics of 
that country and that the Soviets wanted nothing more than a 
settlement of the Greek issue by the Greeks themselves. Manuelsky 
did not ask for support to the Soviet point of view, but merely 
neutrality. 

The proceedings in the Third Committee (Economic and 
Social) interested me greatly, but I was more interested in the high 
political drama that was slowly unfolding itself. As days passed 
and the debates became more and more violent, degenerating often 
into vile abuse, it became clear that we were entering a period of 
prolonged international tension, in which the world was being 
organized into two rival camps. The motivation of Soviet action 
seemed to be the belief that the United States was determined to 
limit the expansion of communism, if necessary by a “preventive” 
war; that the Korean and Greek problems were the opening 



12 


IN TWO CHINAS 

moves in the great game of containing the communist state. The 
U.S.A. was being shaken out of its indecision by the events in 
Czechoslovakia which appeared to the western powers as a threat 
to European security. I had known Jan Masaryk, the Czech 
Foreign Minister, before the war when he was representing his 
country in London. He was leading the Czech delegation to the 
General Assembly and I found an opportunity of discussing the 
issues with him. Masaryk appeared to me to be in an extremely 
position. He defended vigorously the action of his 
country in hning up with the Soviets and gave as his reason the 
possibihty of German revival with American support. The fear of 
Germany seemed to haunt him. This seemed all die more strange 
to me, for when I knew him in 1935-36 his j&iends and associates 
in London were mainly German businessmen. But that of course 
was before Hider’s aggression against Czedioslovakia, and the 
eight years of misery that followed Hacha’s visit to the Fuhrer. 
Masaryk himself was a westerner in every sense. 

There was another issue before the United Nations in which I 
was deeply interested, and that was the Zionist claim for the 
partition of Palestine and the establishment of an independent 
Jewish State. I had been introduced to the great Jewish leader. 
President Chaim Weizmann, as early as 1926 by Colonel Josiah 
Wedgewood. I had met him again in New York in 1943, when 
John Foster took me with him for an hour’s conversation. With 
some of the other Jewish leaders, like Ehilu Ebstein (now Elatt) and 
Moshe Sharett, I had been on fiiendly terms for many years. On 
the question of a Jewish State in Palestine, however, my sym- 
pathies were not all with the Zionists. The Indian attitude had 
always been friendly to the Arabs. While sympathizuig with the 
rlaim of the Jews for a national home in Palestine, I thought that 
their demand for a State based on religious exclusivism was in the 
first instance likely to revive Islamic fanaticism, and secondly was 
uiyust to the Palestine Arabs. W^e on the Indian delegation w'crc 
therefore in favour of a cantonal federation in which the Jews and 
Arabs would live together as neighbours. Dr. Weizmann was 
Hving in the Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York, and with Ivlrs. 
Pandit’s approval I saw him a number of times to explain the 



India’s ambassador to china 13 

Indian point of view to him. He was of course very patient with 
me but, like all great men, adamant when it came to what he con- 
sidered to be a cause of absolute justice. Weizmaim was un- 
doubtedly one of the most remarkable men I met. I felt in his 
presence the kind of reverence and humility which I used to feel 
in the presence of Mahatma Gandhi. Both of them had that 
supreme spiritual quality which communicated itself to those 
near them. It was of course useless to argue with him about the 
rights of the Arabs and the -wisdom of the Indian solution; but I 
did not hesitate to do so, because I felt that to talk to him was itself 
a privilege and any excuse which gave one that opportunity should 
not be missed. Moreover, in this case, the excuse was in itself 
something which tried to explore a path of peace. 

One of the most moving scenes during that session of the 
General Assembly was when Dr. Weizmaim personally appeared 
to testify before the pohtical commission. The^qqmj^ crowded 
t o suffoca tion, for everyone in Lake Success felt that the occasion 
was historic. Slowly the imposing figure of the old Zionist leader, 
looking very much like an Old Testament prophet, appeared in 
the haU supported on both sides by younger men, for it was 
obvious that the strain was almost too great for him. It was only 
his iron wiU that enabled him to appear and plead the cause of his 
people before the assembled nations of the world. There was dead 
silence m the hall, and when the chairman called on him to speak, 
every ear was strained to hear what he had to say. It was diflBcult 
for him to read, as his sight was extremely bad; nor was his manner 
of speaking impressive, as he spoke English haltingly and -with a 
strange accent. And yet everyone there felt the magnetism of his 
presence and realized that the old man who was addressing them 
stood for something which to him was more than all the riches of 
the world. From the personal point of -view also the occasion had 
elements of high drama. The moment he had waited for, during 
the lifetime of incessant actmty, had arrived. To few is it given to 
see the realization of their ideals in their o-wn Ufetime. To Chaim 
Weizmaim it was a moment of triumph and yet he was in no 
mood of exaltation, but of humility. I called on him the next 
day at the Savoy Plaza to congratulate him personally, and I 



^4 IN TWO CHINAS 

could see that he was deeply moved by the few words I addressed 
him. 

There was one other matter of importance in which I was 
called on to play a minor part. While the Assembly was in session, 
the news had begun to appear in the American papers that a tribal 
invasion of Kashmir was in progress: that with the active assis- 
tance of Pakistan a large force of armed raiders had entered the 
territory of the State and that the Government of the Maharaja 
was about to collapse. The next day it became known that the 
raiders had entered the valley and were approaching Srinagar, the 
capital. The Indian delegation was gravely agitated by the ne^vs, 
but in the evening Mrs. Pandit received a personal telegram from 
the Prime Minister that, following the accession of the Maharaja 
to the Indian Union, supported by the largest poHtical party in 
the State, troops had been flown to Srinagar and were in contact 
with the enemy. 

The story of India’s decision to intervene in Kashmir and to save 
the valley from the terrors of a tribal occupation is well known. 
But this tmexpected move of the Indian Government came as a 
surprise to most Governments, who had, for some reason, 
assumed that Kashmir would go to Pakistan. There was sup- 
pressed excitement in United Nations circles as messages from 
New Delhi began to indicate that India was hkely to charge 
Pakistan with aggression before the Security Council. Though the 
' delegation had no information about this aspect of the question, 
Mhs. Pandit received a personal message from the Prime Minister 
a«;king her to get in touch with General Marshall, the American 
Secretary of State, and explain India’s point of view to him. She 
was aware that I had been in Kashmir service at one time, and 
had since, in my work connected with the Chamber of Princes, 
kept myself fiflly informed with developments in that State. So 
she desired me not only to be present at the conversation, but to 
state the case for India. 

George Marshall was on the point of departure for England for 
a conference, and he deputed Mr. Loy Henderson, later Ambassa- 
dor to India, to wsit Mrs. Pandit in New York and discuss the 
matter with her. I had in the meantime prepared a memorandum 



India’s ambassador to china 15 

on the whole question. So when Mr. Henderson called on Mrs. 
Pandit at her hotel she asked me to explain the position of the 
Government of India, in relation not merely to the military action 
taken by us lu meet the tribal attack, but the constitutional 
position arising from the accession of the Maharaja to the Indian 
Union. I also passed on to him the memorandum which I had 
prepared. This I believe was the first discussion between the 
representatives of U.S.A. and India on the Kashmir issue. 

The developments in Kashmir, I felt satisfied, must have 
repercussions in other princely states, and the information reaching 
me about the situation in Bikaner where popular parties were 
pressing the Maharaja for the surrender of his autocratic powers 
made it necessary for me to return immediately to India. The work 
on die Third Committee had also finished and therefore with the 
permission of the Prime Minister I returned earlier than other 
delegates to India. I stopped a day in London and there I was able 
to pick up some very important information. At the Savoy Hotel 
where I was stopping, I met Colonel Waghre, who was in 
attendance on the Prince of Berar, and he told me of the heavy 
purchases of armament in which the Hyderabad Government was 
clandestinely engaged. He suppHed me with the details of some of 
the transactions which could only have been meant for serious 
military action against India, It should be remembered that at this 
time the Indian Army was heavily engaged in Kashmir, and as a 
result of partition many of the units had not been fully reorganized. 
India was in a weak position militarily, a weakness which, as 
subsequent events were to show, the Nizam’s advisers had 
exaggerated. 

The first thing I did on reaching Delhi was to go to the Con- 
stituent Assembly, of which I was a member, and report to 
VaUabhai Patel, the Home Minister, the information I had gathered 
from Colonel Waghre. He took immediate action to stop the 
purchases in England and to prevent such purchases as had already 
been concluded from reaching Hyderabad. After a short stay in 
Bikaner I returned to’ Delhi to attend a meeting of the Foreign 
ASairs Committee of Parliament. After the meeting Nehru asked 
me very casually to go for a motor drive with him. I had no idea 



IN TWO CHINAS 

of what was coming. When we had driven on in silence for about 
ten minutes he asked rather abruptly: “Are you free to go abroad 

to takeupanambassador’sposts” IrepliedthatmyworkinBikancr 

was coming to an end, and as soon as I could &ee myself horn my 
commitments there I should be at his disposal for service an}wbere. 
“When do you think you could get free;” he asked. “Say by tbe 
1st of April,” I replied. “Why not earlier, as the Maharaja is 
introducing popular government in the State?” I explained that, 
apart from having to tie up numerous loose ends in the State, I 
was anxious to continue my work on the committees of the 
Constituent Assembly to which I had been nominated. I calculated 
that these would have concluded their work by that time. I was a 
member of the committee on the Fundamental Principles of the 
Constitution, on Fundamental Rights, on theposition of minorities 
and backward classes andmanylesserbodies. Theirreports had been 
completed, but had not been passed by the Constituent Assembly. 
When I expressed my desire to be associated with the last stages of 
our constitution making, the Prime Minister laughed. “It will 
take more time than you imagine. Since the committees have 
reported, the matter is now with the Constituent Assembly, and I 
do not think you need worry further about it. I should have Hked 
you to be free earHer, but we can wait till April.” There the 
conversation ended. It was characteristic of Nehru that he did not 
even say where I was to be posted. The next day Girja Shankar 
B^pai, who was then Secretary-General of the Mimstry of 
External Affairs, told me that the Prime Minister’s intention was 
to post me to China. 

Many people have claimed the credit for having suggested my 
name to the Prime Minister. Perhaps they did. I know that Nehru 
discussed the appointment with hdrs. Sarojini Naidu and Mrs. 
Pandit. I had worked with Nehru from 1924 to 1927 and he knew 
me fairly well at the time. We had again come together in 
connection with the work of securing the accession of the prmccly 
states to the constitution of India. Though 1 have never tried to 
find out, it is likely that the great affection in which I was held by 
JMrs. Sarojini Naidu, who always treated me as a member of her 
family , had also prejudiced him in my favour. In any case, as soon 



India’s ambassador to china ‘ 17 

as the proposals were formalized, I felt it my duty to go to Lucknow 
where she was then residing as the Governor of the largest 
province in India and report the matter personally to her. 

This was the last time I was to see this remarkable woman, one 
of the greatest that India has produced in her long history. A poet 
of high quahty, an orator of unmatched eloquence, a national 
leader who had presided over the Indian National Congress in the 
days of its greatest power and influence, a woman of wit, charm 
and graciousness — above all a staunch friend and a very human 
and kind lady, Mrs. Naidu had dominated the life of intellectual 
India for a period of over forty years. She was the bridge between 
the old and the new. She had been the friend of Gokhale and was 
one of the earhest followers of Mahatma Gandhi. Her rooms, 
wherever she Hved, were the meeting-place of vagabond poets, 
disreputable artists, society ladies, and national leaders. Everyone 
was welcome and to everyone she was Mother India. "When she 
was in Delhi for the Constituent Assembly it had been my duty to 
escort her to ParUament House and back, and the day she left 
Delhi to take up her post as the Governor of the United Provinces 
the public demonstration at the Delhi railway station was one of 
the most enthusiastic. 

In Lucknow, she kept court like a queen. The Muslim servants 
in the Government House, who had aU been afraid of dismissal 
before she arrived to take charge, adored her. The great Muslim 
ladies of Lucknow — for centuries a centre of Muslim culture — 
found in her a protector and friend. Adrs. Naidu had one weakness : 
she dearly loved good food. Wherever her temporary abode was, 
her local admirers vied with each other in loading her table with 
rare, rich and unusual dishes. In Lucknow — renowned aU over 
India for its deHcious cooking — the Government House soon 
became the exhibition ground for the culinary triumphs of the 
great Nawabi families. During the three days that I stayed with 
her, there was not a meal when we were not served three or four 
dishes specially prepared and sent as tokens of aflection by these 
noble ladies. 

When 1 left Lucknow I knew in my heart of hearts that this was 
my last visit to the grand old lady. She had been ailing for over 

B 



i8 


IN TWO CHINAS 


eighteen months and yet had heroically carried on, her spirit 
refusing to yield to the increasiug weakness of body. When I said 
goodbye to her, she gave me a message to Madame Sun Yat-sen 
and added: “I do not think I shall Hve to hear firom you the stories 
of Cathay.” 

The Maharaja of Bikaner permitted me to retire from the Chief 
Ministership of the State on the 14th of March. I left die capital 
with many demonstrations of affection by the people of the 
State, some of whom accompanied me as £zt as Delhi and later 
on came to Calcutta to bid goodbye to me on my departure to 
China. 

I was appointed as Ambassador attached to the External Affairs 
Ministry firom the date of my resignation in Bikaner. A few days 
later the official agreement to my nomination was received from 
Nanking. I left Calcutta for China on the evening of the 13 th of 
April, 1948, reaching Shanghai on the afternoon of the 14th. I had 
embarked on a career which was new and strange to me. 



CHAPTER II 


NANKING UNDER CHIANG KAI-SHEK 

T he city of Shanghai, which was the first spot in China that 
I touched, was an unreal and fantastic creation. For nearly a 
hundred years ithadbeen the metropoHs of European busi- 
ness in the Far East, the symbol and pride of white superiority. 
To a large extent its glory had departed, for after the Japanese war, 
when the city was returned to the Chinese, all the paraphernalia of 
ex-territorial jurisdiction, consular courts, foreign poheemen and 
the far-famed Municipal Coundl controlled by the Europeans, 
had vanished. Shanghai was no longer the sixth great power in the 
Far East, but merely the commercial capital of modem China. 
Bearded Sikhs no longer controlled the traffic on the Bund. The 
Mayor of the corporation and the Governor of the city was the 
celebrated K. C. Wu, a man of outstanding abihty and recognized 
integrity. In spite of the brave front it maintained and the massive 
buildings on the Bund, the city had already begun to look a Httle 
dilapidated. An xmending stream of refugees firom North and 
Central China had flowed into Shanghai, and the first thing that 
struck me on arrival was the way that thousands of these poor 
people were allowed to wander about in the main streets. 

I stayed in the city only for the day, for I was naturally anxious 
to reach the capital and take up my duties with as Httle delay as 
possible. 

Nanking, to which Chiang Kai-shek had moved his capital for 
poHtical and diplomatic reasons, is an old and attractive city. It is a 
strange combination of the old and the new, as most cities in 
China and India are. Some of the roads are wide and well laid out, 
while others are narrow, dirty and crowded beyond anything to be 
seen in India. Alongside the main streets one could see small 
patches of cultivation; and if in India cattle walk about, obstruct- 
ing traffic, it was no unusual sight in Nanking to see hens and 



20 


IN TWO CHINAS 


chickens crowding the streets. Nanking is a walled city and its 
walls are truly Cyclopean, a little less wide, I am told, than die 
more famous walls of Peking. Outside one of die gates hcs the 
Lotus Lake, a place of enchanting beauty in summer %vidi miles 
and miles of lotus flowers and islands with laid-out gardens, 
tea-houses, etc. The surroundings of Nanking are also very 
beautiful. A little outside lie the purple mountains with their Ming 
tombs, avenues of statuary and the curious old observatory. There 
also is situated the pretentious tomb which the Kuomintang 
erected in honour of its founder (Sun Yat-sen), a not unattractive 
building in the neo-classical style of China, which the party 
favoured at the time. 

The embassy was situated in Peking Lu, and though the house 
was small and unsuitable for an embassy, it was in a good locality 
with a number of diplomatic residences near it. Opposite our 
house was the Egyptian Legation. The Portuguese Minister, Dr. 
Fonseca, resided nearby. But the more convenient houses were 
all occupied by American admirals and generals who were 
supposed to be advising the Kuomintang Government. Our house 
had some fine trees and a reasonable garden, and I had nothing 
much to complain of. The Burmese, Afghan, and Australian 
Embassies were at a convenient distance. So we were in a way well 
placed for work. 

I was received with great kindness and courtesy both by the 
Chinese Government and by the diplomatic corps. The British 
Embassy and the other Commonwealth Missions were particularly 
anxious to show their friendliness as India was practically a new- 
comer in the diplomatic world. Sir Ralph Stevenson, H.B.M. 
Ambassador, made it clear to me from the beginning that I could 
look to him for fnendly guidance in any dilEculty. The Canadian 
Ambassador, T. C. Davies, was even more cordial. He was friendly 
and forthright and cared Htde for diplomatic conventions. His 
friendship which he frankly extended to me from the very first 
day was a source of great strength. 

From the Chinese side, I was lucky that at the time of my 
arrival. Dr. Lo Chia—lun, whom I had known well in India, 
happened to be then in Nanking. In the Foreign Office I had a 



NANKING UNDER CHIANG KAI-SHEK 21 

good fiiend in George Yeh, who was then Vice-Minister of 
Foreign Affairs. So my diplomatic barque was launched on 
smoqthjieRsin-fair weather with an immense amount of goodwill. 
~~~Siew ambassadors and ministers had arrived just before me 
and were awaiting the presentation of credentials. Generalissimo 
Chiang Kai-shek therefore decided not to delay the ceremony any 
further and I was asked two days after my arrival by the Foreign 
Minister, Dr. Wang Shih-chieh, to send an advance copy of my 
speech. I was in a quandary as my letters of credence, which had 
to be signed by His Majesty in England, had not arrived. I 
mentioned this confidentially to George Yeh who made Hght of 
the matter and said that I could present a blank paper in an official- 
looking envelope and later deposit the credentials at the Foreign 
Office. 

1 arrived in Nanking at a turning-point in the history of the 
Kuomintang. The capital was in the grip of unprecedented 
excitement following the meeting of the National Assembly. 
Under American pressure, General Chiang Kai-shek had re- 
luctantly agreed to bring to a close the period of “military 
tutelage,” which Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic, had 
declared to be an essential period of preparation before the 
democratic constimtion was introduced. So, after some prodding 
by General Marshall, Chiang Kai-shek had ordered nation-wide 
general elections. Though over large areas no elections took place 
and the pre-election agreements with the other parties were not 
honoured, a National Assembly had been constituted which 
claimed to represent the whole of China — ^iacluding, it would 
seem, Tibet, whose representatives appeared in their national 
costume in the Assembly. The only function of the Assembly was 
to elect a President and a Vice-President. Law-making functions 
were with the Legislative Yuan, another body, while the right of 
general control and supervision was vested in the Control Yuan. 

The question of the Presidency was agitating the pubHc a great 
deal. There was a considerable body of opkuon which felt that the 
time had come for General Chiang Kai-shek to retire and the 
general himself at one time seems to have thought that it was 
better for him to retire now, at the height of his glory, with all the 



22 


IN TWO CHINAS 


prestige attaching to him as the victor in the war against Japan. He 
even went to the extent of announcing his intention of not putting 
himself forward as a candidate, and indeed suggested that Dr. Hu 
Shih would make an ideal President. But he seems to have been 
persuaded— perhaps not against his wishes— by Chen Li-fu, tlie 
head of the party organization and die evil genius of Chiang— to 
be “drafted” for the Presidency ; and once he offered himself tlierc 
was no question of anyone else being elected. The opposition 
'therefore concentrated on the Vice-Presidency. The official 
candidate was Sun Fo, an unstable pohtician, who however 
enjoyed the prestige of being the son of the founder of the 
Repubhc, Sun Yat-sen. There were many other candidates for the 
post, but one on whom the hopes of the opposition rested was 
General Li Tsung-jen, the head of the Kwangsi faction who had 
been a Hfe-long opponent of Chiang. General Li, with the support 
of his friend and associate, the Muslim war lord, Pai Chung-hsi, had 
defied Chiang for many years before the Japanese war and had 
estabhshed an independent government in Kwangsi. At the time 
of national imity against the Japanese he had returned to his 
allegiance; but his own great abihties as a general, fiiendship with 
Pai Chung-hsi, the most brilHant of the Kuomintang commanders, 
and their joint hold on a vital province in the south had made him 
a rival ratber than a subordinate of Chiang. General Li was credited 
with hberal opinions: at least the American Embassy thought so. 
He was personally considered an honest man — an exceptional thing 
among the military leaders of the Kuomintang. Much pressure 
was put on him by Chiang to retire from the contest, but with tlie 
encouragement of the Americans who distrusted Sun Fo he held 
on and was elected with a great majority. This was tlie first 
political defeat of General Chiang Kai-shek and it had tremendous 
effect on the events of the next twelve months. 

Sun Fo had to be content with the Presidentship of the Legis- 
lative Yuan, an ineffective Parhament which was entrusted ivith 
the duty of legislation. The Control Yuan, the successor of the 
Imperial Board of Censors, elected Yu Yu-jen, a pre-Kuomintang 
revolutionairy and one of the leaders of the 1912 movement as 
President. Tai Chi-tao, a staunch Buddhist, one of the founding 



NANKING UNDER CHIANG KAI-SHEK 


23 


members of the communist party, who later recanted, and one- 
time leader of the anti-Christian federation, presided over the 
Examination Yuan. On the whole it may be said that this experi- 
ment in pscudo-parhamentary institutions did not work out as 
Chiang Kai-shek had expected, or as the party bosses, the Chen 
brothers, had assured him that it would. The elections were almost 
universally interpreted as an expression of no confidence in the 
“C. C. CHque” of which Chen Li-fu was the head. Chiang, 
recognizing the writing on the wall, gave Chen Li-fu permission 
to leave for a tour of instruction in America and Europe, a 
courteous method of dismissal. Chen Li-fu appeared in America 
a few months later as the leader of the Chinese delegation to Dr. 
Buchman’s moral rearmament conference. 

The installation of Chiang Kai-shek was the first pubHc cere- 
mony that I had to attend in China. It was done with imposing 
pageantry, and the Generahssimo, after being invested with the 
office of the President of the Chinese RepubUc, deUvered a speech 
in which he promised in aU solemnity to exterminate the commu- 
nist forces within a period of three months ! Everyone felt happy, 
and the Americans, and to a lesser extent the British, felt that 
China was now well set on a road to democratic evolution. There 
was a great deal of mutual congratulation and no one seemed in 
the least worried about the People’s Liberation Army or the 
regime that Mao Tse-timg had established in inaccessible regions. 

The first indication that all was not well with the new regime 
was the sulky way in which the new Vice-President behaved. He 
ostentatiously washed his hands of the regime and after a few 
weeks of stay in the capital quietly shpped out and took up his 
residence in Peking under the protection of his friend. General 
Fu Tso-yi, who was the representative of the Central Government 
at Peking and was responsible for the defence of North China. 

However, these facts did not worry me greatly at the time. 
What did cause me grave concern was the state of exchange and 
consequently of my own finances. The Fa Pi or the National 
Chinese dollar was falling so rapidly that money was fast losing 
value. The official rate of exchange bore no relation to the actual 
rates and a suitcase full of notes was required for an ordinary 



24 - 


IN TWO CHINAS 

shopping. Most of the embassies were not troubled about this, 
as they were well suppHed with American dollars, which had 
become the unofficial currency of the country. But the Govern- 
ment of India was adamant on this matter and refused, in view of 
its own dollar shortage, to supply us with any currency other than 
the rupee which had to be changed at a loss of over sixty per cent 
at official rates. The effects of mflation were indeed fantastic. 
China was then the one place in the world where there were no 
controls of any kind. Everything was available and could be 
purchased at very reasonable prices if payment was made in 
American dollars. In Chinese currency or at official rates the prices 
were fantastically high. In all pubhc places American currency 
could be openly bought and sold, and even some of the highest 
officials of the Chinese Government were known to have indulged 
in this practice. In fact one very distinguished officer who had let 
his house to my military attache insisted on the rent being paid 
every month in American dollars, and on our pointing out that we 
had no dollars agreed finally as a compromise to be paid in rupees. 
The misery of the people was unbehevable, for currency rates 
changed from hour to hour. The servants were paid according to a 
complicated system based on the cost of living index calculated 
every fortnight (by the British Embassy). As soon as they received 
their wages, they used to rush out and buy their rice and other 
requirements for the fortnight. 

, Apart from the inconveniences arising out of this inflation, hfc 
in Nanking was extremely pleasant. During the first two months 
of my stay there, the leading personalities of the country were in 
Nanking for the National Assembly. I had therefore an oppor- 
tunity of meeting some of them and discussing matters generally. I 
came to know well Dr, Hu Shfli, the celebrated scholar who was 
• at the time the President of the Peking National University, Dr. 
S. R. Chow, well known as an expert in international law, and 
others whom I had previously met in New York or London. 

' There were man y high officials who were men of outstandmg 
abihty and culture; men like Wang Shfli-chieh, the Foreign 
Iv^inister, Yu Ta-wei, a remarkable personahty, a scliolar and a 
scientist, who was then the Minister of Transport. George Ych, 



NANKING UNDER CHIANG KAI-SHEK 


25 


the Vice Foreign Minister, and Dr.Wu, who was the principal of 
the famous Ginling College for women, where my daughter had 
been admitted as a boarder. 

I also had opportunities of meeting General Chiang Kai-shek 
and his wife Madame Chiang (Soong Mei-ling). They were 
particularly kind to us and more than once invited us to dine with 
them en famille. General Chiang struck me as a very masterful 
personality, a patriot and leader who thought always in terms of 
the greatness of China, which he no doubt honestly equated with 
his o%vn leadership. He was simple in his habits and almost 
austere in his hfe. No one has ever accused him of personal 
corruption. Public criticism was mainly directed against those 
who surrounded him, including some members of his immediate 
family. 

Chiang Kai-shek was a great man who was bom a century too 
late. He had all the qualities which in earlier periods would have 
inevitably led him to establish a new dynasty and give a new 
lease of life to the old traditions of China. Chiang was not a 
mandarin and liad indeed no pretensions to scholarship. He was 
and remained a peasant and to some extent that was his strength. 
He was nominally a Christian (Methodist) and I am told used to 
preach every Sunday to a select group who gathered in his private 
chapel. But the Methodist preacher had also become the champion 
of a new Confucianism, with an ardent faith in the traditions of 
China. In fact he was a mass of contradictions — a Christian who 
believed in Confucianism, a democratic president who believed 
in mihtary dictatorship, a scrupulously honest man who tolerated 
large-scale corruption among the people who surrounded him. 

Madame Chiang was a personage of a totally different character. 
Beautiful and elegant, well educated and with wide knowledge of 
affairs, she gavffone the impression of immense vitality and great 
determination. She was endowed by nature with the manners of a 
person conscious of her own superiority: and no doubt as a result 
of being for many years the first lady of the land, she had also 
developed the deportment of a queen! But the General and 
Madame had been strong supporters of the national movement in 
India and were genuinely pleased when India became mdepen- 



26 


IN TWO CHINAS 


dent. So in Let treatment of us she showed a natural cordiality, 
but so far as the diplomatic corps was generally concerned she was 
distant and aloof, an Olympian moving in rarefied heights. The 
first time she received my wife and myself was at an informal party 
at the Presidency to which the Burmese Ambassador and his wife, 
the Greek Ambassador and the Phihppine Minister and his wfc 
were also invited. The Greek Ambassador, who claimed to be an 
expert on Chinese ceramics and bronzes, entered into a long 
conversation with the Generalissimo on art in the Far East— a 
subject in which the General was not at all interested— and gave 
him a description of the great Chinese collection that he had left 
behind in Athens. The only reaction of the General was an 
occasional “Ocho I” which I understood meant “good” in the 
Chekiang dialect which the Generahssimo spoke. The Phihppine 
Minister, his wife and two daughters explained the intricacies of 
what they called the Phihppine national dress to Madame Chiang 
and generously promised to present her with one. To me it 
appeared that the so-called “national” dress of thePhihppines was 
nothing more than a colonial and tropical variation of nineteenth- 
century Spanish dress and Madame Chiang herself seemed greatly 
amused at this emphasis on its national character. She remarked 
smilingly that the dress of each country suited the people and 
dimate of the country and turned to my wife and said that during 
her visit to India she had been presented with a number of saris by 
Mrs. Pandit and others, but that she had never a chance of wearing 
them. Conversation with the General was more difficult, as he 
had very Httle to say on any subject. He, however, asked me a few 
questions about Pandit Nehru and how things were going on in 
Kashmir, etc.— just enough to indicate to me his deep interest 
in India. 

It did not take me long to discover that the Kuomintang 
attitude towards India, while genuinely fiiendly, was inclined to 
be a htde patronizing. It was the attitude of an dder brother who 
was considerably older and well estabhshed in the world, prepared 
to give his advice to a younger brother struggling to make his way. 
Independence of India was welcome, but of course it was imdcr- 
stood that China as the recognized Great Power in the East after 



NANKING UNDER CHIANG KAI-SHEK 


27 


the war expected India to know her place. The Foreign Office or 
theWai Chiaopu was the best organized department of the 
Government and it was here that this doctrine was most firmly 
held. It seemed strange to me that Kuomintang China, dependent 
as she was for almost everything — even her Great Power status — 
on America, should take up this attitude. But soon I reahzed that 
even in regard to America the attitude of China was one of 
patronizing condescension. China accepted financial and other 
help as her due, with the attitude of a great nobleman permitting 
himself to be assisted in a crisis by a newly-rich neighbour. To 
' the Kuomintang, which had inherited the mantle of the Son of 
Heaven, America was no more than the great barbarian for whose 
dollars and equipment she had immediate need, but for whose 
culture she had no great admiration. Chiang himself was in no 
sense a pro-American, while those around him like Chen Pu-li and 
Chen Li-fu were aggressive Confudans who believed in the racial 
and moral superiority of the Chinese. Madame Chiang, brought 
up in an American coUege and with a Christian family background, 
lived in a half world. She was for all outward appearance and 
behaviour completely Europeanized, but I suspect that in her also 
there was a strain of radal pride which made her resent the 
American attitude. 

The behaviour of the American colony in Nanking was 
generally speaking not such as to evoke feelings of friendliness on 
the part of the Chinese. By a process known as Lend-Lease in 
reverse the best sites in Nanking were taken over by the Ameri- 
cans. The residence of the pro-Japanese President Wang Ching- 
wei with its extensive gardens was converted into the American 
club. The best houses had been requisitioned for the American 
generals and other experts. Refrigerators, radio sets and other 
useful things imported into China without payment of customs 
duty began to reappear in the market on a fairly large scale and 
rumours were afloat of scandalous behaviour towards women. 
One such inddent in which a woman student in the Peking 
University was said to have been assaulted by a GI created almost 
a national crisis. On top of it, suspidon began to grow in offidal 
drcles and in non-ofSdal political groups that under MacArthur’s 



28 


IN TWO CHINAS 

leadership America was buiidmg up Japan again. On the whole, 
relations between the Kuomintang and the Americans were not as 
fiiendly as people imagined: but the Chinese realized that they 
coidd not get on without the Americans and the Americans on 
their part realized that the success of their Asian policy depended 
;on a jBrm alliance with China. It was, however, not a happy 
union. 

Aftelr spending some time in Nanking, I went on an official visit 
to Shanghai. Shanghai was still the financial and commercial 
metropolis of China, where India had opened a Consulate- 
General. Also, we had at that time a considerable Indian popula- 
tion, consisting mostly of Sikhs' who had in the days of British 
authority been employed as pohcemen under the MunidpaHty, 
but who had settled down as watchmen in business firms. There 
was also a sprinkling of businessmen, old-established firms of 
Parsis, new Gujerati merchants, and others. Apart from visiting 
the Indian community and establishing contacts with the ofiidals, 
1 was also desirous of meeting Madame Sun Yat-sen, to whom 
Pandit Nehru had given me a letter. Madame Sun was not in 
favour with Chiang’s Government. In fact she was Hving under 
close surveillance in Shanghai and it was generally beheved that 
she was not allowed to move out of that dty. But in Shanghai 
itself she held court like a queen, visited often by leading foreign 
personalities in the dty and managing numerous pubhc cliarities. 
It was widely suspected even at that time that she was in secret 
communication with Mao Tse-tung and that her sympathies were 
with the communists. In any case she made no secret of the fact 
that her sympathies were not with the Kuomintang. 

She received me and my family with the greatest cordiality and 
talked to us a great deal about Indian personalities she had met at 
difierent times. She also spoke to me about her work among the 
refugees and about the schools and institutions which she was 
running for the children in the refugee camps. One of her assis- 
tants in this work was Dr. Anna Wang, a German lady who was 
married to Wang Ping-nan of the communist armies. In her 
company we visited the schools, climcal centres, children s 
theatres and other cultural activities which were directed by 



NANKING UNDER CHIANG KAI-SHEK 


29 


Madame Sun. It was clear to me that this was only an interim 
activity for her, that she was patiently waiting for the day when 
things would be difierent and she would have again a great part to 
play in national aflairs. 

Soong Chin-hng (Madame Sun) was altogether different from 
her sister, Soong Mei-ling (Madame Chiang). Madame Sun had a 
graciousness, poise, and dignity which her more vital sister lacked. 
She was a grand lady, not by her manner or by her airs, but by 
nature. She spoke quietly and in soft tones and there was around 
her a general atmosphere of serenity. She was in fact serene. She 
had none of the vivaciousness of Sarojini Naidu, none of her 
brilliance. Nor did she convey the sense of homely intimacy 
which even a first visit to Mrs. Naidu gave to her visitors. Also, 
she did not give the impression of extraordinary energy and 
vitality which are natural to Madame Chiang. But no one who 
has been in the presence of Madame Sim would deny her natural 
graciousness, her serenity, and her charm, which, combined with a 
remarkable earnestness of spirit and an unswerving loyalty to 
political principles, made her one of the greatest women of our 
time. 

Shanghai was then enjoying its sunset glow. No longer was it 
the proud Queen of the Pacific, dictating the policy of nations 
with interests in China. Its great municipaHty, elected by foreign 
ratepayers, who had, under the protection of extra-territoriality 
and the immense profits of the China trade, built up this megalo- 
polis, had given place after the war to Chinese administration. 
The suave K. C. Wu, ably assisted by his secretary (Pearl Chen), 
was now the Mayor of Shanghai. And yet some of the outward 
symbols of foreign domination had continued. In the centre of the 
city was situated a great racecourse, without which it is difficult 
for Englishmen to live in foreign countries. On the Bund itself 
was situated the Shanghai Club, which was reputed to have the 
longest bar in the world where at lunch-time streamed in the 
great ones of British business. The country clubs, Enghsh, French 
and Italian, with extensive grounds and luxurious apartments in 
the commercial heart of China, proclaimed the importance of the 
different European communities. In fact, Shanghai at that time 



30 


IN TWO CHINAS 

Still had over 60,000 European inhabitants and was undoubtedly 
the largest European city outside Europe. This was for them a 
period of tmexampled prosperity. 

But their authority over the city had gone and no one knew 
where exactly the authority was vested. There was of course the 
Mayoral Government of K. C. Wu, but it was known that 
behind and above him loomed the sinister Tu Yen-shen, a 
notorious gangster and dope king, who had by a process known to 
few emerged after the war as a philanthropist and a highly re- 
spected dignitary of Shanghai. Tu’s career is one of the romances 
of Shanghai, indeed of modem China. Bom in the slums of the 
French concession, Tu worked at diSferent trades, orange seller, 
dope trafficker and general tough man, gradually assuming a more 
and more important role in the underworld of Shanghai. Some- 
time in his career he joined the powerful secret society of Greai 
Shirts, which exercised such immense power in China. He became 
one of the Elders of this society and there came into contact with 
a junior initiate, Chiang Kai-shek, who in the period between 1915 
and 1923 was at a loose end and was earning a Hving, it is said, as a 
bartender. Whatever be the tmth in regard to this, there is no 
doubt of the immense hold that Tu Yen-shen came to have on 
Chiang all the time the former was alive. 

When Chiang’s armies reached the outskirts of Shanghai and 
there was every possibility of a rising in the city, it was to Tu that 
the French turned. Through his efibrts the French concession was 
ra 1m and peaceful. But in the international concession a great 
revolt, organized by the communists, with Chou En-Iai as deputy 
commander, had broken out. This was against the poHcy of Chiang 
who had made up his mind to break with his commumst alhes. 
It was to his Eider Brother in the Secret Society, Tu, that Chiang 
turned at the crisis, and it was through the influence of Tu, who 
threw the organized power of the Secret Societies and Guilds into 
the scale against the communists, that the revolution was sup- 
pressed. 

After the establishment of the Kuomintang Government m 
Nanking, Tu s power and influence in Shanghai was more or less 
openly exercised. But he had the wisdom not to leave his Fren 



NANKING UNDER CHIANG KAI-SHEK 


31 


protectors, who even honoured him with a decoration for his 
services during the crisis. From 1926 to 1936 Tu Yen-shen was the 
most powerful Chinese in the city. He was, however, an unseen 
force, a kind of Fu Manchu who operated from behind the scenes, 
with a share in all the underworld activities for which Shanghai 
became notorious during this period. When the Japanese occupied 
Shanghai, Tu continued to stay in the French concession and was 
of great assistance to the nationalists in keeping their communica- 
tions open with the population in the city. George Yeh himself 
told me that when he was once caught in the Japanese-occupied 
area, it was Tu who arranged for his escape. 

After the war, when Shanghai was retroceded to China, Tu 
Yen-shen came to be accepted even in high society as one of the 
great figures of the city. He was generally described in the news- 
papers as the great philanthropist. In appearance he looked a 
distinguished old-style mandarin, a grave, benevolent personaHty, 
courteous and dignified, one who looked on the affairs' of the 
world with a friendly detachment. 

While the business in the city seemed flourishing, and an 
unending line of rickshaws and pedicabs streamed through the city 
streets during day time, and neon Hghts blazed at night, and taxi 
dancers and dope pedlars found their paradise in innumerable dens 
and night clubs, even a casual observer could have seen that death 
had begun to cast its shadow on the place. The streets were 
crowded with beggars. Refugees were dying like rats and no one 
seemed to care about their fate. Black market flourished openly 
and all civic sense had departed. The mayor, K. C. Wu, fought 
valiantly to maintain some kind of order, but confessed himself 
to be helpless. It was a dreadful situation and I returned to the less 
exciting Hfe in Nanking with a sense of intense reHef, 





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THE COLLAPSE OF THE NANKING REGIME 


33 


equally powerful enemy. His agents had unearthed an enormous 
store of prohibited goods in the godo'wns of the Yangtse Develop- 
ment Corporation wliich was controlled by no less a person than 
H. H. Kimg, whose wife was the elder sister of Madame Chiang 
Kai-shek. David Kung, H. H. Kung’s son and Madame Chiang’s 
nephew, was in charge of the business and the Tiger not only 
raided the premises and took possession of the store, but threatened 
to arrest David Kung himself The young man telephoned his aunt. 
My wife and myself happened to be dining with the Generalissimo 
when the call came through and madame left the table to receive 
the message. When she came back she was looking thunder and 
hghtning. She brusquely stated that she was leaving for Shanghai 
early in the morning. I did not then know what the matter was, 
but on returning home, I sent a message to my Consul-General in 
Shanghai to try and discover the object of madame’s sudden visit 
to the city. I need not have troubled at all, for the whole of China 
knew by next evening that Madame Chiang had decisively 
intervened against her stepson and told him that he was over- 
stepping the bounds of his authority in attacking the Kung 
interests. A few days later David Kung left for America in 
circumstances wliich created a great scandal in the country. 

Thus ended the fight for currency stability. Chiang Ching-kuo , 
gave up his post in disgust and it then became clear that the Gold 
Yuan would go the way of the Fa Pi, which it had displaced. The 
crash came a few days later when I happened to be in Peking. 

During the course of the dinner with the GeneraUssimo alluded 
to above, he asked me whether I had so far visited Peking. I repUed 
that I was hoping to go within a few days. He was good enough 
then to offer me the use of a private plane which I gratefully 
accepted. Two weeks later I flew to the northern capital, as it then 
was. I had then no idea that the crisis in the civil war which in the 
course of six months was to sweep Chiang away from his capital 
was so near. Everytliing seemed normal when we left Nanking in 
the morning. In the afternoon when we arrived in Peking the 
atmosphere was tense. News had just reached Peking that Tsinan, 
one of the great provincial capitals, had fallen to the communists — 
the first city to be taken by them. The effect of this item of news 
c 



34 


IN TWO CHINAS 


was paralysing. Everyone in the Wagons-Iit Hotel, where we were 
staying, discussed only one topic: whether the communists would 
now attack Peking. The city had hved in a state of terror, as the 
communists were present in force less than fifty miles away ; hut it 
had been the general idea that they did not have the strength to 
capture and hold big cities. Indeed they had shown no inclination 
to do so and therefore the occupation of Tsinan came as a great 
shock. 

Peking is a city of great beauty. It has the atmosphere of a great 
imperial capital. The “forbidden dty” with its yellow tiled roofs 
shining hke gold, covering an immense area and dominating the 
capital, the great lakes with pleasure gardens and artificial hills, the 
low-roofed houses, with endless courtyards, pools and rock 
gardens, the Cyclopean walls with their imposing gates and drum 
towers — all these cannot fail to impress even a visitor familiar 
with sights of London, Paris, and New York. Butits condition was 
pitiable when we saw it for the first time. Peking had been 
deliberately neglected for a period of over two decades. I was told 
that the grant for the upkeep of the Forbidden City was not 
sufficient to pay the sweepers. The beautiful lakes were fid! of 
weeds, dirty and uncared for. Refugees from communist- 
occupied areas had forcibly taken possession of the world-famous 
monuments of the city and were living there huddled up, without 
sanitary arrangements, or even elementary precautions of cleanli- 
ness. In the Temple of Heaven, tiniversally recognized to he one of 
the most beautiful buildings in the world, more than a thousand 
students were living just as they liked, more than fifty of them 
sleeping in the robing room of the Son of Heaven. Tlie filth which 
covered the sacred grounds was indescribable. Nor was the 
Temple of Confucius or the Hall of Classics spared by them. It 
was altogether a painful sight. I mentioned this to the municipal 
authorities when I called on the mayor and his reply was; “These 
young men who ought to be at the front consider themselves our 
masters. My authority does not extend to them. There is nothing 
to stop them from taking over any other budding if they choose. . 
While this no doubt was the position in regard to the civil 
authorities, the military rulers of Peking were not so easy to 



THE COLEAPSE OF THE NANKING, REGIME 35 

handle. The supreme command in this area was vested in the 
famous General Fu Tso-yi, then considered by the Americans as 
the sole hope of the Kuomintang forces in the north. The Ameri- 
cans had been for some time pressing the Generalissimo to permit 
them to supply Fu Tso-yi direct, as the latter had been complain- 
ing that Chiang was keeping him in short supply. Chiang of 
course knew his man better, as later events proved. When the 
American supplies were directly delivered to him, Fu Tso-yi’s 
stock stood high. He was undoubtedly a very efiicient soldier. I did 
not have the opportunity of meeting him, as he was at the front 
when I was there, but his deputy entertained me to a formal dinner 
at the former Japanese Embassy. We were received in the historic 
room, where the notorious twenty-one demands were forced on 
the Chinese, and the diimer served to us was of a most sumptuous 
kind. There we heard aU about the plans to destroy in one sweep 
the communist swarms which surrounded Peking. The very next 
day, however, I had some information which gave me an inkling 
of how things were shaping. A colleague of mine — an important 
representative of one of the Western powers — told me in con- 
versation that he had put through a deal with the communists in 
Peking itself and that a “group” in his country was supplying arms 
worth millions of pounds to the communists. I was taken aback 
and asked him how he was able to do it under the very nose of Fu 
Tso-yi. He only winked and said everything could be arranged ! 
As in another three months Fu Tso-yi went over to Mjio Tse-tung, 
it was clear that things had been arranged. 

The famous Peita University had invited me to deliver a course 
of lectures, and the other academic institutions in Peking had also 
been generous with their hospitahty. This brought me into contact 
with the intellectuals in the city, and as Dr. Hu Shih, though he 
was away lecturing in another university, hadwrittentohis friends, 
Iwasreceivedbythemwithgreatcordialityandkindness. The con- 
ditions under which the professors Uved were appalling. They got 
no more than a pittance, which was supplemented with a grant of 
rice ! Literally, most of them did not get sufficient to eat or to 
clothe themselves decently; and yet they struggled on heroically 
to keep up the academic traditions of China. No wonder that most 



3<5 IN TWO CHINAS 

of them were discontented, and I suspected that in the case of a 
good few their sympathies were with Mao Tse-tung. Many of the 
younger leaders in the communist camp, c.g. Po Yi-po, were 
students who had crossed over at one time or another to the 
communist camp, and I was told by teachers in the university that 
there was a regular exodus of senior students in batches to die 
communist areas a few miles outside the city. Another strange fact 
was that the sympathy of the foreign professors seemed to lie 
mainly with the communists. 

I stayed in Peking for twelve days. The last two days of my stay 
witnessed a remarkable development. It was known locally as the 
“buying spree.” It was a kind of moral epidemic under the 
influence of which almost everyone in the city with any cash 
rushed to the shops to buy anything that was available, A Chinese 
acquaintance of mine went from shop to shop buying watches: 
another concentrated on fountain-pens. In fact all that people 
seemed anxious to do was to get rid of the paper money they had 
and lay their hands on something which was substantial. It was 
clear that the Gold Yuan on which such hopes had been built up 
was going the way of its predecessor. The reason for diis sudden 
collapse was not obvious, unless it be that the pubhc had somehow 
come to guess what the censorship had been eflectively concealing 
so far, that is, the disastrous development in Manchuria. 

While we were in Peking Chiang Kai-shek himself had arrived 
there and after a hurried consultation flown to Mukden. There he 
called together commanders of the area and decided on a plan of 
action which was to eliminate the powerful communist forces 
under General Lin Piao, which had taken over the countryside. 
Before actual fighting started in Manchuria, we returned to 
Nanking in order to be present in the capital for die “ double 
ten^” — the lOth of October — ^which the Kuomintang celebrated 
as the national day. This year, however, there were no celebrations. 
The news had begun to trickle down that the Manchurian armies, 
the best that Chiang had from the point of leadership, training and 
equipment, had been surrounded by Lin Piao and were surrender- 
ing in large numbers. The Manchurian campaign was fist ending 
in total disaster and it was clear that North China also would not 



THE COLLAPSE OF THE NANKING REGIME 37 

be able to bold out much longer. The '‘double tenth' ^ was there- 
fore celebrated in an atmosphere of gloom. 

The pressure on Chiang Kai-shek to relax his control on the 
administration began to increase. This came from many different 
quarters — the army, the politicians, liberal thinkers, and even high 
officials. One strange and unexpected development was the posi- 
tion that the Legislative Yuan, or Parhament, began to assume. 
Under the Kuomintang-sponsored constitution, Government 
was not responsible to the Legislative Yuan, but this body 
began effectively to voice popular discontent and make Chiang's 
administration difficult. It adopted a poHcy of criticizing every- 
thing and everybody and indirectly challenging the General- 
issimo’s prerogative of appointing the Cabinet. The Prime 
Minister, Wong Wen-hao, had resigned, but the Legislative 
Yuan kept on obstructing the appointment of anyone suggested 
by Chiang. They were vociferous in their demand for peace, for 
ending the civil war. The Control Yuan, which was vested with 
the authority for seeing that the constitution was adhered to and 
had also the right of direct enquiry into administrative scandals, 
began directly to take up matters discrediting Chiang or those 
near him. Months after David Kung had departed for America 
following Chiang Ching-kuo’s action against the Yangtse 
Development Corporation, the Control Yuan insisted on an 
enquiry, the object of which was to attack and discredit Madame 
Chiang Kai-shek. It became obvious during the weeks .following 
the double tenth (October 1948) that there was mounting oppo- 
sition to the Generalissimo and his regime and that a widespread 
popular movement for peace was developing in the country. 

Chiang’s reaction to this growing opposition was characteristic. 
He made another speech prpmising to annihilate the communists 
finally in another three months. When in May he had made a 
similar announcement it did not sound improbable, nor was it 
taken as a wild claim by the general pubHc. In May the communist 
areas were undefined and though everyone knew that Mao Tse- 
tung controlled a powerful army, it had not so far fought a 
decisive action. The communists could not then claim undivided 
authority even over a single province. They roamed over large 



38 IN TWO CHINAS 

areas, but every toym of importance and most provinces were 
under the control of tbe Central Government, wHcb then disposed 
of a well-equipped army of over four million people, some 
umts of which had been trained by the Americans and had had a 
great deal of battle experience in Burma. But in November it 
looked a vain boast, for not only had Chiang’s Manchurian armies, 
numbering near a milHon, been lost to him, togedier vdth die 
north-eastern provinces, but Peking and Tientsin had come under 
attack with but litde chance of effective defence. More, the 
redoubtable generals, Liu Po-cheng, known as the one-eyed 
dragon, and the hard-hitting Chen'Yi, had appeared before 
Hsuchow, which everyone recognized to be die gateway to 
Nanking. A great batde had been joined at Hsuchow, which, if 
lost by Chiang’s forces, would seal the fate of Nanking and 
indeed of the Kuomintang Government. Chiang threw all liis 
available forces into this battle and is said to have himself taken 
long-distance control of the operations. A great battle of encircle- 
ment and annihilation went on for over a month, the only serious 
batde in the civil war. The result was decisive; Chiang’s forces 
were beaten and the victory lay with the communists. 

Intemaliy also the situation was cracking up. Before Cliiang 
entered upon the Hsuchow campaign he had embarked on a pohey 
of repression. In the universities, hotbeds ofanti-Cliiang agitation, 
the Kuomintang Youth Corps, a fascist gang masquerading as 
students, had orders to beat up aU malcontents. Security measures 
had been tightened and talk of peace was declared unpatriotic and 
treasonable. But these measures had but Htde effect. The Legisla- 
tive Yuan had become the mouthpiece of the opposition and the 
Americans were banking on these beginnings of democracy. 
Chiang found his hands tied in dealing with this body. In fact the 
American Embassy itself had slowly veered round to a cautious 
support of Li Tsung-jen, the Vice-President, and was informally 
putting it out that the only way of safety lay in Chiang’s with- 
drawal. 

A violent anti-American agitation had also broken out at the 
same time. The remarkable recovery of Japanese economy and 
MacArthur’s open plea that Japan should be strengthened as a 



THE COLLAPSE OF THE NANKING REGIME 39 

counterweiglit to the growing communist power on the mainland 
had given the pubhc sufficient ground for working up a great 
agitation. It is clear now that it must have been communist 
inspired, but wherever the inspiration came from, it was taken up 
by practically aU sections of the public. The Government itself 
had to issue statements. The attitude of the American Consul- 
General in Shanghai who declared this agitation to be an act of 
ingratitude, and leading articles in the American-owned Shanghai 
Evening News, generally voicing contempt for the Chinese, did not 
help matters. The American Embassy, caught between the fires of 
anti-Americanism and of the suspicion of being staimch cham- 
pions of Chiang, began to waver and to give cautious support to 
the hberals. 

With the fall of Hsuchow and Pengpu, Chiang’s position be- 
came untenable. The only undefeated army of any strength was 
under the command of Pai Chung-hsi, the MusUm General, who 
was the close friend and associate of the Vice-President. Pai, whose 
headquarters were at Hankow, had refused to allow his troops to 
be thrown into the battle of Hsuchow. When, after the disastrous 
outcome of that battle, Chiang called a conference of his mihtary 
commanders and provincial governors to meet him in Nanking, 
very few took the trouble to come. This “epidemic of polite 
disobedience,” as it was described in the Chinese papers, con- 
vinced Chiang, more than anything else, that it was time for him 
to retire, at least temporarily. 

It was when the situation was developing this way that my wife 
one evening received from Madame Chiang Kai-shek a present of 
a bunch of the most beautiful chrysanthemums. We considered 
this strange and rang up Madame Meyrier at the French Embassy 
to find out whether she had also received a present of a similar 
nature. As it happened a similar gift had been sent to her and, I 
heard, also to the wife of another ambassador. It was only the next 
morning when the newspapers announced the fact that Madame 
Chiang had left for America that we recognized the significance of 
this gracious act. 

The clamour for peace kept mounting. General Chang Chffi- 
chun, who had been one of the most trusted officers of the General- 



40 


IN TWO CHINAS 


ksimo and represented him in the strategic north-west provinces, 
including Sinldang, suddenly arrived in Nanking as the champion 
of the peace party. He came to call on me and when I asked him 
how long he intended to stay on in Nanking, his reply was “till 
everything is settled. Chang Cliih-chun, I guessed, was already in 
contact "With the communist authorities, many of whom he knew 
intimately. In fact he had been one of the representatives ofChiang 
Kai-shek in the negotiations vdth the communists during Gencrd 
Marshall’s mediation. Unhke other advocates of peace he made no 
speeches, but it was clear that he intended to force the issue vdtli 
the Generalissimo. 

Finally the Generalissimo gave in. One reason for his abrupt 
decision, I was told, was the failure of his wife’s mission to 
America. The State Department had frankly cold-shouldered her 
and no promises of immediate help were held but. Betrayed at 
home by his own generals, and abroad by those whom he considered 
his friends, Chiang agreed reluctantly to step down and hand over 
power to Li Tstmg-jen as Acting President. He then left for his 
home province of Chekiang on a Conflician pilgrimage to liis 
mother’s tomb. 

Looking back on the events briefly described above I have not 
the least doubt that the GeneraHssimo’s surrender of leadership at 
this time was one of the major factors that brought about die 
sudden collapse of the Kuomintang. Chiang was the only man 
aroimd whom the defence of the Kuomintang cause could have 
been organized. He alone enjoyed sufiicient authority and prestige 
in the army and among the people in the nationalist areas. Also he 
alone had the determination, the imbending resolve not to yield. 
But the fact was diat a mood of defeatism had swept over the 
middle classes and the intellectuals who felt convinced diat the 
civil war — ^the fight between brother and brother — could be 
brought to an honourable end through negotiations. A powerful 
group in Parhament saw in Chiang the major obstacle to the 
negotiations and concentrated their fire on him. Also the com- 
munist radiokept on emphasizing that but for foreign influences 
American— unity and peace would have reigned in China long 
ago. So from about the middle of November Chiang had foreseen 



THE COELAPSE OF THE NANKING REGIME 4I 

the possibility that he might have to retire. He began building up 
in Formosa the funds, equipment and other requirements for 
continued resistance. MacArthur, then playing the Mikado in 
Japan, was determined to keep Formosa out of communist control. 
So, one day quietly and without fuss the GeneraHssimo withdrew 
after issuing a proclamation which made it clear that he reserved 
for himself the right to resume the Presidency whenever he 
thought it proper. It was not a resignation, but a temporary 
withdrawal. 

Li Tsung-jen who thus became the Acting President was an 
amiable gentleman with an ambitious wife who was intensely 
jealous of Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Li inaugurated his regime 
with a number of hberal decrees — one abohshed the dreaded 
secret poHce; another freed pohtical opponents who had been 
rotting in jail for years. A third suppressed the Kuomintang youth 
organizations which had terrorized the universities. But all these 
well-meaning measures remained ineffective. The secret poHce 
was responsible only to Chiang and worked under his orders. 
“The young Marshal,” Chang Hsueh-hang, the son of the 
Manchurian war lord Chang Tso-hn, who had been confined in 
some unknown place for his part in the Sian incident, continued to 
remain in jail in spite of the clear orders of the Acting President. 
The army commanders took no notice of General Li and looked 
to Chiang’s agents for their orders. In fact there was utter confu- 
sion in Nanking. 

In this difficulty Li had to depend more and more onParfiament, 
where the peace group had gained greatly in strength as a result of 
Chiang’s withdrawal. The pressure for direct negotiations became 
greater every day, while the will to resist declined proportionately. 
Finally when the communist armies had reached Pukow on the 
Yangtse, opposite Nanking itself, Li Tsung-jen addressed a tele- 
gram to Mao Tse-tung offering to negotiate a settlement. The 
communist leaders, who were fully informed of the rapid pohtical 
disintegration in Nanking, welcomed the move and put forward 
an eight-point basis for negotiations. 

The situation in Nanking was bordering on anarchy. One 
morning the American MiUtary Advisory group and high nuHtary 



42 


IN TWO CHINAS 


aad naval ofiSdals attached to the Nanking administration went 
away without much warning. This was of course interpreted by 
the people as a sure indication that the war had been lost ! I was 
suddenly faced with a rather d iffi cult problem. The Americans had 
recruited and employed over 150 Indians as Mihtary Pohcc. They 
were a trained and disciplined body of men. Suddenly, with the 
departure of dieir American employers, these people were not 
only left without employment but with no prospects of return to 
India. As the Americans had recruited them in China, no arrange- 
ments had been made for their repatriation. Naturally they 
turned to me in this difficulty. As the general situation was 
deteriorating rapidly I did not know what to do with this 150 
ex-soldiers, who, as it appeared, were also supphed with American 
arms. Then an idea struck me. The embassies in Nanking had 
generally taken alarm at the growing inadequacy of police 
arrangements in the city. Many instances of well-planned burgla- 
ries in embassies had also been reported. The British Embassy 
officials, with their accustomed foresight, were also considering 
measures in case the city came under siege. An elaborate scheme 
for evacuating the Commonwealth diplomats and personnel liad 
been worked out. Arrangements had also been made to put in 
ample stock of foodstuffs. The central point of the scheme was 
that a British man-of-war would be anchored at Nanking, in 
which all of us would go down the Yangtse under the protection 
of the guns of the Royal Na^^-. Every week a new destroyer sailed 
up the river, and the rival Chinese forces on both banks of the 
Yangtse could see that the Commonwealth nationals in any case 
had at least the symboHc protection of the Navy. Ever)'one was 
satisfied that the communists would not dare to alienate the 
British by firing on the destroyer, especially when the Pacific 
fleet was at hand and, it was thought, could sail up easily and 
patrol the Yangtse as before. How mistaken these calculations 
w^ere, events were soon to prove. But in February w^e all had a 
comfortable feeling of security, widi the clock-like arrival of 
British and AustraHan destroyers, whose officers and men we 
felt happy to fete and entertain. 

There was, however, one weakness in diis scheme. There was no 



THE COLLAPSE OF THE NANKING REGIME 43 

arrangement for protection inside the city in case law and order 
completely broke down and the more dangerous elements among 
the underworld took over. Previous experience of massacres of 
foreigners, the destruction of their property and the desecration of 
their churches, rankled in most European minds and there was a 
genuine fear that if there was a siege of Nanking foreign Hves 
might not be safe. When this matter came up for discussion, it 
struck me that the disbanded American Mihtary Pohee could be 
organized as a private force and entrusted with the 'responsibhity 
of guarding the Commonwealth embassies. I undertook to do so, 
if the other Commonwealth Missions agreed to contribute pro- 
portionately to the expenditure. This they were only too happy to 
do and within two days I was able to inspect a private army of my 
own, which took over the guard duties of the embassies and of the 
residences of senior diplomatic personnel. Tib the communists 
actually crossed over on the 23 rd of April these guards functioned 
pubhely, and their bearing, behaviour and discipline eHcited uni- 
versal admiration. Even after the communists took over, they 
were not disbanded immediately. They were, however, asked to 
remain within the embassy compounds and generally to keep 
themselves in the background. But they were there, and in a small 
way they gave to the Commonwealth community a sense of 
personal security which all of them appreciated. 

General Li, after some prevarication, mainly due to the fact that 
he was being subjected to contradictory advice, finally decided to 
send a delegation to Peking to discuss the terms of peace on the 
basis of the eight points which MaoTse-tung had put forward. An 
unofficial delegation led by the former ambassador W. W. Yen 
had reported that the communists had no intention of pressing 
their demand for the surrender of the so-caUed war criminals 
(headed by General Chiang and Madame Chiang) and were 
prepared to moderate the terms in other directions also. So in the 
third week of March an official delegation led by General Chang 
Chih-chun, Shao Li-tse and other leading dignitaries left for 
Peking, where they were received with great cordiahty and 
entertained to banquets and receptions by Mao Tse-tung, Chou 
En-lai and others. 



44 


IN TWO CHINAS 


instance of the nnreal atmosphere in which the Nanking 
regime carried on during the first three months of 1949 when their 
defence had practically collapsed is provided by the following 
incident. General Wu Te-chen, knowm popularly as Wu Te, a 
man of great personal charm and a good record as a revolutionar)* 
general, had taken the place of Wang Shih-chieh as Foreign 
Minister. He summoned all the Asian Ambassadors in Nanking 
(Burma, Thailand, Philippines, and India) and formally proposed 
an alhance to fight communism everywhere. I was radicr taken 
aback, for what he was suggesting in effect was diat we should 
consider the Kuomintang cause as our own and make a united 
fiont with Chiang to give him support in his ci\'il war. The 
Burmese Ambassador and myself opposed it strongly and the 
proposal was therefore still-bom, but it was one of the pet ideas of 
Chiang Kai-shek which he tried to revive later under the joint 
auspices of Syngman Rhee and Quirino. 

Li Tsimg-jen’s first difficulty was with his Cabinet. Sun Fo, the 
son of Sun Yat-sen, who had a vague reputation as a progressive, 
was the person who headed the new ministry. He and his fnends 
decided to shift the capital to Canton, which is traditionally 
supposed to be the centre of Kuomintang sentiment. But the 
President considered that such a move would be considered by the 
general pubhe as an attempt to continue the civil war. So while the 
Government with all the administrative offices shifted to Canton, 
the President and the Legislative Yuan stayed on in Nanking. The 
Foreign Office informed the diplomatic corps of the intended 
change and invited them to accompany them to Canton. They 
promised to make arrangements for accommodation in a hotel and 
to put other faciHties at our disposal. On this a meeting of the 
diplomatic corps was convened by M. Meyrier, the French 
Ambassador, who was the doyen. The consensus of opinion at the 
meeting was that we should not accompany the Government to 
Canton as it was by no means certain that the Government would 
be able to settle down there for any length of time, and, secondly, 
as the President was not moving to Canton we could not legiti- 
mately leave what continued to be in theory the capital of die 
State. So all of us, wdth one notable exception — and that was the 



THE COLLAPSE OF THE NANKING REGIME 


45 


Soviet Ambassador — sent only junior officers to represent us at 
Canton. 

Why the Soviet Ambassador chose to leave with the Kuomin- 
tang remains a mystery. It was certainly true that the Soviets, even 
at this late stage, were negotiating with the Kuomintang for the 
renewal of the air agreement relating to Sinkiang. They were also 
known to have asked for agreements regarding mining conces- 
sions. It would appear from these and other reasons that the Soviets 
were not anticipating a quick communist victory over the 
“nationahsts” and were ready to carry on with their legal repre- 
sentative at Canton accepting the Kuomintang as the legitimate 
Government of China. 

t/When these discussions about the Canton move were taking 
place, Dr. Hu Shih called on me and had a long talk about the 
future. He was in a state of great nervous tension, extremely 
unhappy about the decision he had been forced by circumstances 
to take, and grieved beyond measure to see the great liberal ideas 
for which he had worked so hard for over thirty-five years 
crumbling before him. One thing which he told me then struck 
me very forcibly. “All this,” he said, “is the fault of us hberals. L- 
»/When we saw how things were shaping in 1936, how the Kuo- 
mintang was renouncing the democratic idea of the Revolution 
and was set on the path of dictatorship and reaction, we should t- 
have protested and organized ourselves into an effective opposi- ' 
'-tion. Instead we chose the easier path. Some hke me left the • 
‘•country for the time. Others hke Wang Shih-chieh joined the • 
- Government in the hope of reforming it from inside. Others 
remained silent and were content to carry on with their scholarly ^ 
activities. If we had stood out and made ourselves heard, we could, 

-• I feel certain, have saved the Hberal revolution.” He talked to me 
much more in the same strain. I was deeply affected for I had re- 
spect not only for Hu Shih’s encyclopaedic scholarship but also for 
his hberal ideahsm and for his intellectual integrity. I felt sorry that 
after a hfetime of work devoted to the intellectual regeneration 
of his country, this truly great man should at his age find himself 
homeless — n refiigee in some foreign country. From what he told 
me it was clear that he had no intention of following the fortunes 


4<5 IN TWO CHINAS 

of Chiang Kai-sliek. A professorsliip in some American university, 
well endowed with Chinese texts, seemed to be the only place 
where he could settle down. It was a distressing drought and it 
made me miserable for days, for there was no doubt that it was 
quite impossible for Hu Shih with his intellectual independence 
to adjust himself to the changed conditions. 

When the Kuomintang delegates left for Peking I calculated that 
there would be an interval of at least three week during which I 
could go to Delhi for consultations and come back. As the 
communists were entrenched in force on the odier bank of die 
Yangtse, it was a grave risk to take, especially as I was leaving my 
wife and children behind. If the negotiations broke down and the 
communists decided to attack before I returned, I would have no 
method of reaching them for months to come. ButI calculated that, 
humanly speaking, it would take three weeks for the talks to break 
down finally and if I could return by the 20th of April, I would 
be in time to see the communists occupy Nanking. So I left for 
India and after receiving my instructions about what I should do 
in case the communists occupied Nanking and we were cut off 
from the outside world, I returned to Nanking on the 21st of 
April. On the 23rd the communists crossed. 

On the day I was leaving for Delhi, General Li Tsung-jen 
invited me for dinner. He talked to me for over two hours and I 
had a very good opportunity of forming an estimate of his per- 
sonality and the prospects of peace on the lines he was contem- 
plating. I had of course met General Li on numerous occasions 
before but this was my first discussion with him after he became 
Acting President. Li struck me as a very well meaning, but al- 
together inefiective gentleman. He was hoping vaguely that tlie 
‘"liberal” elements in Kuomintang China would rally round him 
and that the United States would give him active support. His 
entourage consisted of a few generals of the Kw^angsi clique, a few 
professors and journalists, who were convinced that the world 
could, be won by statements and declarations, and his wife a 
woman of remarkable beauty — ^\vhose one ambition was to out- 
shine Madame Chiang. General Li’s ideas about peace seemed to 
me a Htde naive and unreaHstic. He explained to me diat he was 



THE COLLAESE OF THE NANKING REGIME 47 

convinced that the communists could not hope to conquer the 
two-thirds of China which still recognized his authority and con- 
sequently they were bound to modify their terms and accept a 
coahtion with him. It was no doubt true that the vast area south of 
the Yangtse, the great provinces of Szechuan and Yunnan and 
outlying areas like Sikang, Kansu and Chinghai in China proper, 
and the immense territories of Sinkiang and Tibet were stdl outside 
communist influence. Mao Tse-tung had a much smaller area 
under him than the Japanese had. Li’s idea was that even if the 
communists moved down south, he could go to Chungking from 
where he could defy them as Chiang defied the Japanese. “Today 
the position is much better,” he said, “as with American help we 
have built aerodromes all along the interior line up to Sinkiang. 
There is therefore no chance of their being able to defeat us. So 
they are bound to jump at the offer I have made of a negotiated 
peace.” This was his main line of argument. 

Theoretically he was right. But the Japanese parallel was alto- 
gether misleading. Even in South China which he considered his 
stronghold, my own information showed that public opinion had 
swung away from the Kuomintang. Also, previous experience 
had demonstrated that Kuomintang soldiers were weary of 
fighting, and it was known that the provincial war lords were 
wavering. In the strategic province of Yunnan a coup d'etat had 
already displaced the Kuomintang war lord, and his cousin who 
took over was negotiating with Mao Tse-tung. I did not of course 
put these doubts of mine to him, but merely asked what he 
thought to be the stumbling-block in the negotiations. He 
replied frankly that he could not agree to any conditions 
which would weaken the relations with America ! I knew then 
that he was hving in a fool’s paradise in hoping for a negotiated 
settlement. 

The same night I left for India. After three weeks’ stay when I 
returned to Shanghai on the 20th of April, it became clear that I 
had calculated it a Httle too fine. Rumour was thick in Shanghai 
that the communists would cross the Yangtse in a day or two, and 
unless I left by the evening train communications between 
Nanking and Shanghai might be disrupted. In fact the train to 



IN TWO CHINAS 


48 

Nanking which left that night and on which I travelled was the 
last Kuomintang train to make the journey. 

The last Kuomintang authorities had left Nanking and General 
Li himself was ready to leave as the news reached him that the 
negotiations had broken down and his own leadmg representa- 
tives had elected to stay in Peking. The day after I arrived (on die 
22nd of April) I called on the American Ambassador, Dr. Leighton 
Stuart, to get from him an appraisal of the situation. Dr. Leighton 
Stuart was an tmusual diplomat. He was a missionary educationist 
who had devoted over forty years of his life to the cause of 
Christian education for the Chinese. He had unboimded faith in 
Chinese character and looked upon China as his adopted home. A 
man of great moral rectitude and unusual simpheity of life, he 
was a minor Mahatma, who was perpetually surprised at the 
villainy of the world. His one weakness was that he was inclined 
to rely too much on his own judgment of Chinese character, 
which he idealized in some respects. As an instance he used to tell 
me that as the relationship of teacher and student was one of the 
basic conceptions of Chinese ethics, his own position as the teacher 
of many of the younger communist leaders would help to shape 
their policy in favour of the West ! This naive attitude caused him 
some bitter disappointments. 

Dr. Leighton Stuart assured me that there was no immediate 
danger of the communists crossing the Yangtse and that if they 
attempted to do so they would lose a million men and many 
cosdy attempts would be necessary before a foothold could be 
estabhshed on the southern side. He added that it was also the 
considered opinion of the American military experts. This 
complacency rather astounded me, but Dr. Stuart was convinced 
that the defences were in perfect order and that the communists, 
who after all were only guerrillas, did not have the teclinical 
efficiency to carry out so elaborate a plan of ferrying across the 
Yangtse (not less ffian three quarters of a mile broad) an army of at 
least half a million men. 

After this interview I went to see Sir Ralph Stevenson, the 
British Ambassador. He was more cautious, but the advice of his 
o%vn experts was that the crossing of the Yangtse would not be an 



THE COLLAPSE OF THE NANKING REGIME 49 

easy operation. “One can never |aiow,” he added however, “and 
the communists may be up to some tricks, but normally speaking 
a crossing of the Yangtse, if contested, will be a difficult opera- 
tion.” I had to be content with this very guarded appraisal. Half 
an hour after I returned home from Stevenson I got other infor- 
' mation of a rather disquieting character. A Chinese friend told me 
that a citizens’ committee had been formed in Nanking,headed by 
Dr. Wu, the celebrated President of Ginling College, to take over 
the maintenance of law and order in the city, and a deputation 
from this committee had crossed to Pukow to get in touch with 
the communist authorities: that it was being rumoured that the 
commander of the garrison of a town farther up the Yangtse had 
gone over to the enemy and that the communists were already 
crossing in force in that area; and that the local Kuomintang 
authorities intended quietly to slip out of the city at night. 

On the zznd of April Nanking presented a strange scene. The 
civil authorities having fled the town, the mob took charge. They 
looted systematically the houses of Kuomintang leaders and 
officials, but otherwise there was no hooliganism. From my 
chancery I could see the official residence of the mayor being 
plundered by the inhabitants of the locahty. It was done in a civi- 
lized and orderly manner, old women being helped by younger 
people to carry what they had collected! The mob did not 
destroy anything; they broke only such things as had to be broken, 
like doors, window frames, etc., which some people carried away 
quietly as if they were withdrawing a deposit from a bank. The 
army headquarters, the offices of the youth organization, etc. 
-suffered badly, but on the whole the mob behaved in an orderly 
and quiet manner. By the afternoon the Committee of Public 
Order had gained control and issued various proclamations and 
orders to the people. 

Early next morning everyone knew that the advance party of 
the communists had entered Nanking and that the main force was 
being ferried across without any opposition. I went out into the 
streets to see the troops coming into Nanking. It was a strange 
sight. The streets were crowded with sightseers. I did not think 
that there was much enthusiasm, but neither was there any 



50 


IN TWO CHINAS 


hostility. "We drove about everywhere, watching the endless 
procession of the P.L.A. (People’s Liberation Army) marching 
through the famous Chimg Shan Street. Except ourselves and the 
Burmese (and of course the Soviets) the other diplomats remained 
indoors, apprehensive lest their presence might lead to some 
untoward incidents. By the evening the crossing was completed 
and the Kuomintang capital effectively occupied. Generd Liu 
Po-cheng, the one-eyed dragon, as he was known, was proclaimed 
mayor of the city. We of the diplomatic colony were anxious and 
tmcertain. We decided to wait on events and kept to our embassies, 
expecting the communists to make the first move. No such move 
was made; they just ignored us. 



CHAPTER IV 


TRAPPED IN NANKING 

F or the next three or four days there was a lull, with minor 
incidents which strained our nerves. A few P.L.A. soldiers 
had strayed into the American Embassy and walked up to 
the bedroom where the ambassador was lying iU with fever. ’ 
They, however, left quietly after a short conversation. A few had 
attempted to enter the garden of the British Embassy but were 
dissuaded from doing so. The French, it would appear, had a bad 
time, for the Embassy was isolated for three days: but generally 
speaking, apart from the uncertainty of things, there was nothing 
very much for us to complain about. Provisions which had dis- 
appeared from the market became plentiful. For the time, the 
silver dollars of Yuan Shih-kai became the accepted currency. 
Everyone watched and waited. 

There were two broad lines of opinion in the diplomatic body: 
one, which was expounded with vigour by Keith Officer, the 
distinguished Austrafian Ambassador, was that the communists 
would be anxious to gain the good opinion of foreign powers by 
treating the diplomats well. On the other hand, the Dutch 
Ambassador, Baron Van Arsen, produced and circulated a 
memorandum based on the experiences of a colleague of his in 
Moscow during the revolution arguing that the communists 
would want to be tough with us and there was no use depending 
on international law and usage in this matter. We did not have 
long to wait to find out what they intended to do. A day or two 
after the occupation we were poUtely but firmly informed that 
we would be given no diplomatic privileges and would be 
treated as only distinguished foreigners. We were alluded to as 
ex-ambassadors. There was no Foreign Office to deal with us, but 
only a Foreign Personnel Bureau where our secretaries had to 
present themselves with an interpreter since all business was trans- 



52 


IN TWO CHINAS 


acted in Chinese. No communication in any other language was 
accepted. AU conversations were in the presence of shorthand 
writers who took down every word that was spoken. We were 
not allowed the use of cypher or the privilege of using couriers. In 
fact we had technically ceased to be diplomatists. 

We were also subjected to a munber of restrictions which in the 
circumstances were perhaps not unreasonable. We were not 
allowed to go outside the city walls, even for picnics to the 
beautiful Lotus lake, or to the purple mountains. The reason given 
was that the area had not been cleared of Kuomintang bandits and 
the P.L.A. could not take responsibihty for the hves of foreigners 
outside the city. The number of motor vehicles used by the 
embassies was strictly limited. The American Embassy had, it 
would seem, no less than no cars; it was cut down to five. The, 
same number was allowed to Britain and France and the U.S.S.R. 
Italy, Holland, and Belgium were permitted three; India, Iran, 
etc., two : and others, one. No doubt this was necessitated by the 
shortage of petrol. 

Apart from these inconveniences, there .was ho interference 
whatever with our life. The embassies and legations, after the 
minor incidents of the first few days, were left inviolate. No sol- 
diers or policemen ever stepped into an embassy compound on any 
pretext whatever, and the staff and personnel were never molested, 
unless they broke some law in the street or elsewhere. Even the 
Foreign Personnel Bureau, in spite of all its tight-hpped formalism 
and refusal to recognize us as diplomatists, gave us in practice all the 
facilities we required. In one or two cases it even advanced money 
required for Ae expenditure of the mission, since exchange 
regulations had not come into effect. Our movements were 
restricted; our diplomatic activities were made impossible; but 
otherwise we were left to ourselves with no interference of any 
kind. Also, liv ing conditions in Nanking improved after the first 
two weeks. Prices were stabilized and currency was steady. Life 
was therefore not tmcomfortable. 

There was, however, a nigger in the woodpile. The Chinese 
servants and employees,, normally so docile, began suddenly to 
put forward impossible demands. They knew that we no longer 



51 


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1 .loucei 'f -t, ^\iete ftf __ ,,„pb\ed as pa-y 



IN TWO CHINAS 


54 

Judge Tom Davis, the Canadian Ambassador, whom nothing 
worried md nothing agitated, went about tirelessly keeping up 
everyone s spirits. He started a bridge club for beginners and got 
them together every day and made them forget their worries. 
Tom Davis was in every way a remarkable man. He had a natural 
■gift of friendship and he went out gaily in the firm conviction that 
everything was well everywhere in the world. His attitude was a 
fine tonic for those who were inclined to be gloomy and pessi- 
mistic. He was manfully assisted in this work by Dr. Fonseca, the 
Portuguese Minister, a distinguished career diplomatist who had 
seen service everywhere. Dr. Fonseca was a scholar and a human- 
ist, one who viewed things vrith imderstanding. He was too- 
complex a personality to be a perpetual optimist hke Tom Davis. 
But theirs was a happy alhance, and the Peking-Lu Bridge Club 
became the standby of the more nervous among om colleagues. 

Though I put in my appearance occasionally at this club, I 
decided to utiHze this enforced hoHday to more profitable pur- 
poses. Iknewthat we had been trapped and there was no way for us 
to get out till thingswere settled one way or theother. So I decided 
to divide my time into three parts, the mornings to be used for a 
systematic study of Chinese history and Hterature, the late after- 
noons to work on a book on the Indian Revolution, and the 
evenings for a translation of Kalidasa’s epic the Ktmara Samhhava ■ 
into Malayalam verse. This scheme worked out fairly well. With 
the assistance of a professor at the Nanking university Lmade a 
collection of the serious hteratinre on China available in EngBsh, 
which is indeed immense, and apphed myself to it as if I were pre- 
paring for an honours school at Oxford. For my smdies relating to 
Chinese history and hterature I had also the benefit of the advice 
of a few American scholars who had been caught up in the same 
way. I liked this work greatly as it introduced me to a completely 
new world, to the history of Sshumma chin, to the Chronicles of 
the Three Kingdoms, to the social and legal theories of various 
Chinese schools of thought, apart from the philosophical books of 
Taoism. The book on the Indian Revolution (since published 
under the pseudonym of Chanakya) gave me an opportunity to 
organize my ideas on many aspects of the Indian problem. The 



TRAPPED IN NANKING 


55 


Indian information library was well supplied with books, and I 
found it especially invigorating to read theBltagavad Gita, with the 
modem commentaries of Tilak and Aurobindo, to study carefully 
the writings of the Mahatma, of Vivekananda, and other makers 
of modem India, But the greatest pleasure was undoubtedly in the 
evening when I read aloud the shkas of KumaraSamhhava and tried 
to render them into Malayalam verse. It was a discipline more 
than a poetic effort. There is at least one excellent translation of 
Kumara Sambhava, the Birth of the War God, in Malayalam and 
there was no purpose or point in my producing an indifierent one. 
The discipline of translation is one which I have always appreci- 
ated, but to try one’s hand at a recognized masterpiece was some- 
thing which only the situation in which I was placed in China 
would have made me dare. The translation, though unpretentious, 
was I am glad to say widely welcomed when it was pubMshed 
three years later. 

The problem of South-East Asia had always interested me. In a 
way my early book. The Future of South-East Asia, published during 
the war, had helped to shape pohcy in that area. The problem of 
communist expansion to the borders of Burma and Siam, which 
one could well foresee, began to interest me considerably. I thought 
the time had come to formulate a poHcy which would strengthen 
the economic, social, and pohtical structure of the area. With this 
object in view I wrote a memorandum the main argument of 
which was that without immediate and adequate help in the 
economic field, the poHtical struaure of South-East Asia would 
provide no more than a frail barrier to the expansion of com- 
munism. I knew that my Government could not move in this 
matter effectively; so I decided to enlist the co-operation of the 
British and AustraHan Ambassadors and put forward the note 
to the Commonwealth Governments as a joint proposal. Keith 
OfHcer, the Australian Ambassador, who for all his conservatism 
had an imaginative mind, fell in with this idea, as did Sir Ralph 
Stevenson. Stevenson also showed my paper to Leighton Stuart, 
who it would appear agreed to recommend it independently to 
his Government. At the next Commonwealth Ambassadors’ 
meeting the memorandum was approved with minor verbal 



. 5*5 - " IN TWO CHINAS . 

modifications and it was then forwarded to our Governments as 
a joint proposal. A copy was also sent informally to Malcolm 
MacDonald, the Commissioner-General in Singapore, to enable 
him to discuss it at an important conference of the heads of 
British Missions which was due to meet in Singapore. I was told 
later hy Keith Officer that the proposals in that memorandum 
formed the basis of the discussions which led to the Colombo Plan. 

The diplomatic corps became more and more jittery as timp 
went on. Apart firom the fact that we had been unceremoniously 
deprived of our immunities and privileges, it became clear, as 
weeks passed by, that getting out of China was not going to be 
easy. Originally it was thought that once Shanghai was occupied 
communications with the outside world would be re-opened, and 
such of us as desired to go would be able to do so. Within a month 
of the fall of Nanking, Shanghai was also occupied, the Kuomin- 
tang as usual making but a poor show when it came to actual 
fighting. The western diplomats, by and large, beHeved that the 
communists would learn their lesson in Shanghai. Their favourite 
argument was that Shanghai had rice only for three weeks, and 
that the public utility services, water works,, electricity, etc., 
depended upon imported coal, which would no longer be avail- 
able. It was also fondly hoped that the spirit of Shanghai — ^its 
night clubs, its dope dens, etc. — ^would corrupt the communist 
leaders as it had corrupted the Kuomintang when the young 
nationalists came first into contact with the Eastern Babylon. They 
waited patiently for the appointed three weeks. Instead of the 
much-hoped-for breakdown and the pleasantly-anticipated 
weakening of the revolutionary spirit, the diplomatic corps in 
Nanking was shocked to hear the treatment meted out to an 
American Vice-Consul, who had been arrested and imprisoned 
for not obeying the orders of the military authorities. He was 
made to apologize and denounce his own imperialist actions. Also 
the prospect of leaving conveniently seemed to vanish. The 
Kuomintang had mined the Whampao river, and soon they pro- 
claimed a blockade and prohibited foreign ships firom entering 
Shanghai. The greatest port in the East lay idle. But the expected 
breakdown, did not take place. Food was more plentiful than 



TRAPPED IN NANKING 


57 


before. Coal for public utilities was transported from mines in the 
north. The communists seemed on the whole not to worry that 
foreign shipping was not coming to Shanghai. 

To add to our discomforts, Kuomintang planes began to appear 
regularly over Nanking in day-time. Their object was said to be to 
bomb and destroy the electrically-operated ferry across theYangtse, 
which carried the troop trains from the north. The power- 
house and the waterworks were also their targets. Though their 
bombing was poor and nothing of military value was ever 
achieved, it was sufficient to cause us intense discomfort. 

My own instructions were to stay on to the last; but I knew 
most of the western diplomats were anxious to get out. Every day, 
the only topic of discussion was how to organize our departure 
honourably. The British Ambassador, Sir Ralph Stevenson, was 
in a different position. He was determined not to move from 
Nanking till H.M.S. Amethyst which had been disabled and was 
lying in the Yangtse moved out with or without permission. He 
was trying every method he knew to negotiate some kind of a 
settlement. As a matter afiecting the honour and prestige of 
the Royal Navy there was considerable feeling in Britain 
about the incident which disabled this ship and damaged others 
which tried to come to her rescue. It was important that the 
Amethyst should not be left where she was. So Stevenson and his 
staff never talked of leaving. 

The American Embassy Club, housed in the palace of the pro- 
Japanese President, Wang Ching Wei, had been thrown open to 
all the diplomatic missions. In its cool shades the diplomatic corps 
daily met and discussed their woes under the illusory protection 
of a tank, which was drawn up in front of the gate. To conceal 
their alarm the ladies generally played bridge but the men col- 
lected together in groups at the bar or near the swimming pool, 
discussed endlessly whether it was right for them to stay and 
whether it was not more dignified to beat a retreat. But the prob- 
lem was how to leave. No ships were calling in Shanghai. It was 
impossible to reach Tientsin where, it was rumoured, ships were 
still calling. More than this, the communist authorities had 
resuscitated the old Chinese system of asking for two “shop 



IN TWO CHINAS 


58 

guarantees” before any foreiper could leave. Shop guarantee 
meant that two Chinese businessmen should come forward to 
guarantee any continuing, contingent or future liabilities that the 
departing foreigner might be adjudged as being reponsible for. 
As w^e were classed as former diplomatists not entitled to any 
privileges, it was made clear that if we desired to leave, we also had 
to prowde “shop guarantees.” Our expert in international law, 
Baron Van Arseii, the Dutch Ambassador, searched for precedents 
and declared that the claim was irregular. But regular or otherwise 
the Chinese insisted on enforcing it. As I made up my mind to 
stay, till the situation cleared up, the decision did not affect me, 
though I agreed to join in any protest that the diplomatic corps 
was prepared to make. Then arose another difficulty. The com- 
mtuiists had not claimed to be a government. They had no Foreign 
Office and no Ministry to which, we could protest. The occupied 
areas were xmder the People’s Liberation Army, and all foreigners 
including diplomats were dealt with by the head of the Foreign 
Personnel Bureau, Huang Huai. Later I came to know Huang 
Huai rather well when he was the official representative of the 
Foreign Office in Shanghai. But at this time he was not available 
to anyone. I dealt with him through my third secretary. Dr. 
Virendra Kumar, whose fluency in Chinese was of the greatest 
help to me at this time. 

By the end of Jrnie, the patience o^^ the diplomatic corps had 
practically come to an end. The summer that year was unbearably 
hot in Nanking and there was no way of getting out to Shanghai 
or to any cooler place. In the circumstances some of us decided to 
make an approach to the Foreign Personnel Bureau to permit us to 
go to Shanghai for a short visit. The permits were issued without 
much trouHe, but we were warned that the ctistoms authorities 
would insist on opening our luggage. I was, however, privately 
assured that the police would be mstructed both in Nanking and 
in Shanghai to let my luggage pass without interference. That was 
what happened. Except for the delay in taking down the names in 
Chinese, we were subjected to no inconvenience, though some of 
the representatives of the “imperialist powers” were treated rather 
unceremoniously. 



TRAPPED IN NANKING 


59 

On the 1st of July Mao Tse-tung made the famous speech 
declaring firmly dbat new China leaned on to one side: that it 
aligned itself with the Soviet Union. When the speech came 
through we were dining at the Canadian Embassy to celebrate the 
Dominion National Day. The Commonwealth Ambassadors and 
their wives and Dr. Leighton Stuart were the only guests. One 
could see the effect of the speech on Dr. Leighton Stuart. That 
good man had hoped against hope that the communists, many of 
whom had been his students in Yen Ching university, would take 
a moderate line. But Mao Tse-tung’s speech finally shattered that 
hope. Dr. Stuart was a broken man. He told me that he had made 
up his mind to leave early and had asked that his private aeroplane 
might be allowed to be repaired for this purpose. A few days later 
he left quietly and the Chinese — ^it must be said to their credit — 
gave all Etdlides Co their old Cczchci: Co make an honourable exit. 
He was not harassed or troubled at the time of his departure. 

The American Ambassador’s departure cast a deep gloom over 
the foreign colony. It was clear that the present position was 
untenable. The French Ambassador decided to ash for an evacua- 
tion ship to be sent from Indo-China, but it was not easy to make 
the necessary arrangements for leaving the country. Also the 
American Government were sending up a ship — the Gordon 
Castle, I think it was called — to enable the large American colony 
in Shanghai and the diplomatic persoimel to return home. But the 
British, on whom the rest of us were depending for evacuation, 
srill made no move. This seemed rather alarming to others but it 
was quite clear that as ample shipping ciHties existed in Hong 

arrangements 
to happen in 

the Amethyst case. 

And indeed something did happen. Quietly one night the 
Amethyst steamed out and braving the communist guns escaped 
into the liigh seas. It was a notable feat, in the best traditions of the 
Royal Navy. The full spry of its escape has not been disclosed. 
But when it is told it will, I am sure, be one of Iiigh adventure, 
gallantry and courage. The Amethyst had been heavily damaged, 
and as no one was allowed on board the possibility of adequate 


Kong, Britain could at a moments notice make 
without any fuss. She was waiting for something 



6o 


IN TWO CHINAS 


repairs being efiected on the boat seemed very remote. The 
communists were very ' vigiknt and kept constant watth. 
Besides even if at dead of night it could have moved away 
silently under the cover of Chinese junks going up and down 
the river, the stretch of Yangtse from Nanking to the sea was 
too long for it to escape without notice. But escape it did, 
and the feeling in Britain was as if a new battle of Trafalgar 
had been won. 

The British Embassy breathed freely again and Sir Ralph 
Stevenson began occasionally to discuss the problem of our 
return. He did not want to leave too early and give the impression 
of deserting his post, nor did he want to stay once the position had 
become definitely irregular. We were, in general terms, aware of 
what was happening in Peking. The communist leaders had con- 
vened a conference of all parties there and they were discussing a 
common programme on the basis of which the new Government 
of China was going to be proclaimed. It was known that General 
Li Chi-shen, leader of the Kuomintang Revolutionaries, Chang 
Lan, the leader of the Democratic League, Huang Wen-pai, the 
radical leader, besides non-party personages Hke Madame Sun 
Yat-sen and Kuo Mo-jo, the historian and writer, were co-operat- 
ing with the communists in working out the principles of a 
coalition and a programme of poHtical action. I was very definite 
that once a Government was officially proclaimed, the diplomatic 
representatives could not stay on without recognizing that Govern- 
ment. I kept on pressing this point of view and affirming that the 
only right we possessed, once such a Government was estabhshed, 
was the right of exit. In this point of view I was supported by 
Mri Finaltea, the Italian Ambassador on whose family the strain 
had begun to tell. Another diplomat who was also in favom of 
joint action for withdrawal immediately the Government was 
proclaimed was Le Ghait, the Belgian Ambassador, whose pre- 
vious experience in Moscow and generffiy detached and philo- 
sophical attitude was appreciated by all. Le Ghait was a scholar. As 
he was then a bachelor he had plenty of time to devote to his 
studies, which included at that time, I do not know how seriously, 
Chinese grammar! 



TRAPPED IN NANKING 


<5i 


As most of us anticipated, the Central, Government of the 
People’sRepubhc of China was proclaimed from the square of the 
Tien An-men or theGate of Heavenly Peace, on the ist of October, 
1949. Mao Tse-tung was of course Chairman. Among the Vice- 
Chairmen appeared the names of Madame Sun Yat-sen, ChangLan, 
and General Li Chi-shen. It was significant of the state of our 
knowledge on China that even professed experts on Chinese com- 
munism did not know whether Kao Kang was a cormnunist or demo- 
cratic leader. Not one of the diplomatists in Nanking, including 
those who had the most widespread intelligence services, had heard 
of Kao Kang. As for Liu Shao-chi, only those of us who had been 
trying to follow the theoretical writings of Chinese communism 
knew that he was a very important person. Chou En-lai was 
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, and the first thing he did on 
the proclamation of the People’s RepubUc was to summon the 
foreign representatives in Peking and hand over to them a com- 
munication inviting the establishment of diplomatic relations. 
Letters addressed by name were sent to the head of the Foreign 
Personnel Bureau at Nanking, Huang Huai, to be handed over to 
the representatives of powers stationed there. The next day Huang 
Huai summoned the heads of Missions (those who had no Consuls 
in Peking) to his office. Most of them agreed to go, but I sent word 
that if Mr. Chou En-lai had sent a communication to me it might 
be sent on to my residence, and that I would not personally 
attend at the Bureau at Huang’s call. The Foreign Personnel 
Bureau received my reply very well and suggested that I might 
send a secretary to receive the communication. I sent Dr. Kumar, 
my third secretary, and the communication was handed over to 
him. My interim reply, promising to forward the communication 
to Delhi and addressed to “General Chou En-lai, Peking,” was 
sent the same day to Mr. Huang for transmission to Peking. 
Prime Minister Nehru’s reply, which arrived two days later, was 
couched in very friendly terms, indicating that there would be 
early recognition and exchange of representatives. 

The question of withdrawal had thus become an immediate 
one. Delhi was anxious that I should stay on in Nanking but I 
pointed out that while I was prepared to stay on I would have no 



62 


IN TWO CHINAS 


official position and could not carry on any work till the regime 
was officially recognized. Recognition was bound to take tim e as 
the Kuomintang was still in occupation not only of Canton, but of 
vast areas in the south-east, including Szechuan, Yutnian, and 
Sikang, and ffie dyd war was unhkely to end on the mainland 
for another two or three months. On my representing thh 
the Prime Minister agreed to my withdrawing with the other 
diplomatists. 

The arrangements for withdrawal were in British hands. They 
arranged for two boats, one belonging to Butterfield and Swe 
and the other to Jardin Mathesons, and accommodation was pro- 
vided for all the diplomatic staff who desired to use British good 
offices. Besides the British ships, the French and the Americans 
had also requisitioned boats for their nationals and friends. Most of 
the European and Asian representatives preferred however to go 
by the British ships. 

One major issue which worried everyone but about which very 
little was spoken was in respect of our treatment by the Customs 
officials. A. K. Sen, who had been carrying on the work of the 
Consul-General in Shanghai, had succeeded in estabhshing fairly 
fnendly relations with the Foreign Bureau there, and he assured 
me that so far as our luggage was concerned there would be no 
difficulty and that it would be allowed to go through without 
examination. He said that he beHeved the same courtesy would be 
shown to the Burmese also. And it actually happened that way. 
But their treatment of European diplomats varied. The British 
and Austrahan Ambassadors’ luggage was opened only formally — 
Just to emphasize the right. In some other cases they searched 
the packages carefully,' in every case insisting that they did 
not recognize any diplomatic privileges for “former diplo- 
matists.” 

Anyway, it could not be described as an honourable exit and 
most of the diplomats regretted that they had stayed behind at aU. 
They had hoped that the commumsts would appreciate the fact 
that they had not followed the Kuomintang Government in its 
wanderings on the mainland; that the communist authorities 
would interpret their stay as a demonstration of practical sym- 



TRAPPED IN NANKING 


63 

pathy. It did not take many weeks before disillusionment came. 
The Chinese communists were not standing any patronage from 
the West; and it was as sadder and wiser men that most of them 
embarked on British ships, which evacuated the last survival of 
imperialist domination from the mainland of China. 



CHAPTER V 


AN INTERLUDE IN INDIA 

W 'E reachedHongKongafterafewdays. TheGovemorof 
Hong Kong, Sir Alexander Grantham, was a senior oflBcer 
of the Colonial service whom I had met before in Lagos 
where he had been Chief Secretary. He was an administrator of 
exceptional ability and poHtical understanding and it was lucky 
for Hong Kong ^at its affairs were under his charge. This litde 
islet, separated from the mainland only by a narrow stretch of 
water, had become the haven of refugees both from the Kuomin- 
tang and from the communists. Its population had, at all times, 
been predominantly Chines^ and the colony depended for its 
economic life on trade with the mainland. During the days of . 
Kuomintang authority the opposition had always found it con- 
venient to retire to Hong Kong, after the foreign concessions had 
ceased to exist. Thus, the Revolutionary Committee of the 
Kuomintang, tmder General Li Chi-shen, had made the colony its 
headquarters. The communists also had maintained an office there 
for contacting the outside world and this office was run by 
Chiao Kan-hua, then known as Cho Mu, and his talented wife. 

When the communist victory in the batde of Hsuchow made it 
clear that the power of the Kuomintang was broken and it was 
^only a question of time for the People’s Liberation Army to take 
over the south, the rich compradores, the millionaire businessmen, , 
and others who felt that life might not be easy for them in New 
^China hurried to Hong Kong. Among the dignitaries who had 
thus found refuge were the notorious Tu Yeh-shen, Sun Fo, the 
son of Sun Yat-sen, and the last Kuomintang premier in Nanking, 
Yen Hsi-shan the war lord of Shensi who had maintained his' 
independence of the Kuomintang to the very last, and numerous 
other less well-known officials. It was said of Yen Hsi-shan that 
he had long ago foreseen the possibility of exile and had built for 



AN INTERLUDE IN INDIA 


65 

himself a magnificent palace and five other bungalows for his 
five concubines. Actually the population of the island had more 
than doubled during the few months preceding our arrival and it 
was overcrowded to a degree which was unbchevablc. But though 
the administration was a little nervous of the intentions of the 
communists, and was fully aware that the island could not be 
defended against a major attack, hfe went on normally. One could 
feel the tension in the air, and that was natural, but the Governor 
and his staff were fuUy satisfied that a military crisis was not likely 
to develop. There might be grave internal problems, strikes, a 
projection of the Kuomintang-communist strife among the 
Chinese population, etc. These they were prepared to deal with. 

Hong Kong has an old estabUshed and prosperous Indian popu- 
lation numbering no less than three thousand. Some of the families, 
like the Ruttonjees, were as old as the colony itself, having been 
estabhshed there even before the British formally acquired it by 
the Treaty of Nanking. All Indian business communities were well 
represented, Gujaratis, Parsis, Sindhis and even one or two people 
from Malabar. The Sindhi houses were among the most adven-ii- 
turous in the Far East. The Indian merchants were mainly in the 
export and import trade and had during the last hundred years 
contributed much to the prosperity of the colony. The Ruttonjee 
family endowed munificently a tuberculosis hospital among other 
charitable institutions. I was glad to note that these hard-headed 
businessmen were not in any way alarmed by the changes on the 
mainland. Mr. Ruttonjee had in fact begun the construction of a 
villa in Stanley overlooking the main coast. 

I was anxious to see conditions in Burma a httle before reaching 
India. The civil war was then at its height. Everyone knew that the 
writ of the Central Government did not run far beyond Rangoon 
itself The Karens, and numerous leftist factions fighting the 
Government, seemed for the time to have the upper hand. As I 
anticipated that the Chinese communists would reach the Burmese 
borders in two or three months’ time, I was anxious to judge for 
myself the chances of survival of the U Nu Government. We were 
received with great cordiality in Rangoon and we had through 
the kindness of Mr. Rauf, our Ambassador, an opportunity of 
E 



66 


IN TWO CHINAS 


discussing matters with the leading personahties. Though in 
Rangoon itself there was ample evidence of miHtary precautions 
against a surprise attack, and the pubhc generally felt that life had 
its dangers, the leaders of Government seemed very optimistic. 
U Nu had just then formulated his one-year pkn of peace 
and was vigorously canvassing support for his ideas in the country- 
side. The general opinion was that the communist threat was no 
more than a nuisance and the danger to the State was from the 
rehelHon of the Karens. The claim of the Karens threatened to dis- 
rupt the State and it was clear that the Burmese Government was 
right in giving priority to the defeat of the disruptionists. The 
general feeling was that the strength of the Government was 
growing, that the army which was being organized and trained 
was making itself felt, and that in a few months the situation 
would improve from the economic and poHtical point of view. 

The Indian Ambassador in Rangoon, Rauf, was in many ways 
a remarkable man. He was bom in Burma and was a leader of the 
Rangoon Bar. Before India’s independence he was a political 
figure of some consequence in Burma and had been a close 
associate of the present ministers many of whom he had known 
from their early days. His brother Rashid is married to a Burmese 
lady and is now a minister in the Burmese Government after 
having opted for and acquired Burmese nationahty. Naturally, 
Rauf was in a position to know from the inside what was happen- 
ing in the country and to form an imbiased conclusion. His own 
view was that U Nu was gaining both in stature and in authority, 
and, accidents and tmforeseen events apart, he would be able to 
pull the country through. 

We had some old friends in Burma, notably a young woman ofr 
brilliant abihties, Daw Mimi-khiang, the wife of a minor Shan 
prince who was in charge of education in the Shan area. During 
the war Mimi-khiang was in India and had come and stayed with 
us in Bikaner. She was a person of sound and independent 
judgment and from her also I was able to confirm the conclusions 
which I had formed as a result of my talks "with the Ambassador 
^nd the leaders of Government. Thus after a short but profitable 
stay we returned to India by the beginning of November. 



AN INTERLUDE IN INDIA 


67 

The Prime Minister’s intention was to send me back to China. 
I knew that some of the chief permanent officials in the Foreign 
Office were opposed to this, on the ground that it would be 
against protocol to send up my name in view of the fact that I had 
already been Ambassador to the Kiiomintang regime. It was clear, 
however, that the Peking Government attached no importance to 
this consideration, as they had already welcomed General N. V. 
Roschin, our colleague in Nanking, as Soviet Ambassador to the 
new regime. But I had to wait in India till the Government 
decided to announce their recognition and to establish diplomatic 
relations with Peking. 

While there was no difference of opinion as to the necessity of 
recognizing the new China, there was a difference of opinion 
among the leaders about its timing. The more conservative 
members of the Congress leadership, including C. Rajagopal- 
achari who was then the Governor-General and Sardar Valla- 
bhai Patel, wanted us to go slow in the matter. They were sup- 
ported in this attitude by a powerful section of the Civil Service, 
including, I suspect, some of the senior officials of the Foreign 
Office. My own view to which I gave free expression was that we 
should recognize the new regime when the Kuomintang authority 
on the mainland of China ceased to function. Chiang Kai-shek’s 
fugitive regime was then in Chungking. Many people believed 
that, as at the time of the Japanese war, the Kuomintang would be 
able to hold out in this inaccessible area. The American doctrine at 
that time was that if the Kuomintang could control Yunnan, Sze- 
chuan, Sikang, and the outer provinces, covering what was generally 
claimed to be the areas controlled by the Muslim war lords wliich 
■extended to Sinkiang and the Soviet border, then American 
strategic requirements would be satisfied. Large aerodromes had 
been constructed in this interior line during the anti-Japanese war, 
and some American military leaders had assured me that with 
bases in Indo-China and Siam this line could be effectively 
defended and converted into a vital area for American “defence” 
purposes. It is not so ridiculous a scheme as it sounds now. If 
American pohey had been definite and firm and the State Depart- 
ment had been ready to intervene even indirectly as General 



68 


IN TWO CHINAS 


Chcnsult stid others desired, the K.tioiiiiiitftiig Govemnieiit could 
have been propped up for a time and at least the outer provinces 
might have been detached and organized into a separate state. But 
that would have meant intervention in civil war. That was what 
Chiang and his fnends were hoping for. However, at this crucial 
period, American poHcy was indecisive. A controversy had 
broken out in the U.S.A. as to who was responsible for the failure 
of America’s Chinese poHcy, and the State Department hit back 
by pubhshing the famous White Paper, which was a most 
damaging analysis of Kuomintang poheies and actions. The result 
of this internal squabble was poHtical vacillation and consequently 
at this critical time America had no pohey in regard to China. It 
was well known that the State Department was discussing with the 
British Government the question of recognition and, though no 
decision was taken, the general impression was that America at 
this stage was not unfavourable to the idea of other powers 
recognizing China. Perhaps it was even prepared to consider doing, 
so itself. A significant indication of how widespread this attitude 
was is provided in Foster DuUes’ own volume War or Peace where 
he frankly states that recognition of Peking China might be 
necessary. 

The agitation of a few Repubhean leaders, popularly associated 
with the Clhna Lobby, had not had much effect at this time 
(November-December, 1949) and it was clear that without active 
American support the Kuomintang regime at Chungking could 
not hold out. The decision that Mr. Nehru took was therefore to 
convey our recognition when the Kuomintang Government 
moved into the island of Formosa, which at the time was still 
juridically a part of the Japanese Empire since the treaty transfer- 
ring it to the Alhes had not been signed. Britain also agreed with 
this view and it was decided that the Indian Government’s recog- 
nition of the new Government of China should be conveyed to 
Peking by the end of the year. For some reason Burma was 
anxious that it should be the first State outside the Soviet bloc to 
recognize the.New China and we were approached with a request 
to wait for a few days in order' to give Burma the start. In due 
course, Burma announcedits recogmtion and we followed in a few 



AN INTERLUDE IN INDIA 


69 

days. Britain, Pakistan, and Indonesia also announced tkeir recog- 
nition: so by the first week of January, 1950, the Peking Govern- 
ment had received the recognition of the major Asian States. ^ 
Peking’s reaction was rather unexpected. As a preHminary step 
it suggested that envoys should be sent to Peking to discuss the 
details of the exchange of diplomatic representatives. As A. K. Sen, 
who was my first secretary in Nanking, was still there, he was asked 
as charge d’affaires to go up to Peking and discuss matters. We, 
as well as the other nations including Britain, had assumed that 
diplomatic relations would automatically follow recognition of 
the new Government, and that the previous embassies would 
therefore be automatically revived without discussion or argu- 
ment. That, however, was not the Chinese point of view. They 
held that diplomatic relations had to be settled separately by 
negotiations. Rather hastily, the recognizing powers agreed to 
send their representatives to Peking. Looking back on it, it would 
clearly have been more advantageous to ask the power which 
requested recognition to send its representative, or, as is normal 
in such circumstances, to take up the negotiations in neutral capitals 
where both parties were represented. Proceeding on the assump- 
tion that recognition involved the re-estabhshment of diplomatic 
relations, the Government of India had nominated Sen as charge 
d’affaires. Peking refused to accept tliis and we in our turn re- 
fused to carry on the talks unless he was so recognized. Sen was 
asked to put a specific question as to whether the Chinese nego- 
tiators recognized him as charge. If the answer was in the negative 
he was instructed to withdraw from the talks. On this, the Chinese 
compromised and replied that they recognized him as charge 
d’affaires for this purpose. After this preliminary exchange the 
negotiations were easy, but the formal announcements took a little 
time, as both Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai were away in Mos- 
cow discussing the Sino-Soviet treaty. As soon as the estabhsh- 
ment of diplomatic relations was announced, Sen took over as 
proper charge d’affaires. Soon afterwards the Chinese Govern- 
ment also communicated their agreement to my nomination to 
the post. 

I had been in India for about five months and during this 



70 


IN TWO CHINAS 


period I had been nominated temporarily to the Public Service 
Commission, primarily to represent the External Affairs Ministry. 
The Commission interviewed candidates in Delhi, Allahabad, • 
Patna, Calcutta, Aladras, Nagpur and Bombay. For many years 
I had been out of touch with the younger generation and this 
all-India tour, extending over four months, gave me an excep- 
tional opportumty of judging both the quality of our university 
education and the intellectual capacities of the new generation. It 
was an interesting experience. What struck me most was the 
absence of an all-India mind among the young men, the result 
mainly of the provinciahzation of the universities following the 
Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms (1921). Another thing that 
struck me was that while most of the candidates for the admini- 
strative or foreign services had a fair knowledge of European 
history, they were, by and large, ignorant of the historical back- 
ground of Asian countries. What Httle they knew was from the 
British point of view. This was not the fault of the students or 
- even oftheuniversities. There wereno books onthemodernhistory 
of Asian countries written from the Asian point of view. This 
was so glaring a fact even in regard to India, that I had been 
approached a few months after the interim Government was 
estabhshed to write a one-volume history of India for Indians: in 
fact to make an attempt to restore the perspective of Indian 
history. The only book which had done this to some extent was 
Nehru’s own- Discovery of India, which, though sound history, 
was more of a hterary work. I undertook to do this and the result 
was a Survey of Indian History pubHshed in August, I947- h was 
now suggested to me by R. N. Bannerji, the Chairman of the 
Pubhc Services Commission, that I should write a survey of 
modem Asian history from the point of view of Asians them- 
selves. The idea of writing a history of European relations with 
Asia had attracted me for a Ipng time and Bannegi’ s suggestion 
thus accorded with my own plans. As, later, in China I had ample 
'time at my disposal, and the advantages of being able to use the 
excellent National Library and the Hbrary of the Peking Univer- 
sity, I was able to fldfil this promise and publish (in 1953) ^7 
and Western Dominance. 



AN INTERLUDE IN INDIA 7I 

When we were waiting for a reply from Peking about my 
nomination, the Indo-Pakistan relations had reached a sudden and 
unprecedented crisis. This time the centre of trouble was not the 
Punjab but Bengal. Arising out of some minor incident, the 
attitude of the Government and the MusHm majority in East 
Pakistan became suddenly unfriendly. The result was an unpre- 
cedented exodus of Hindus from Bengal, bringing with them the 
familiar and no doubt exaggerated stories of forced conversions, 
loot, etc. The repercussions on the Indian side were equally disas- 
trous. After a few days, Muslims from West Bengal began a 
panicky flight into Pakistan. We were back in the dark days of 
1947. Though there was not the same massacre of the innocents, 
this time the crisis was more serious in so far as leaders on both 
sides had begun to talk of war. When the crisis was at its height I 
was asked whether I would go as High Commissioner to Pakistan 
and handle the situation. I looked upon it as a challenge and 
unhesitatingly agreed to do so. But before the matter could be 
finally arranged the reply from China arrived agreeing to my 
nomination as Ambassador to Peking. Also, in a day or two the 
Indo-Pakistan situation took a sudden turn for the better as a 
result of the direct contact estabhshed between the two Prime 
Ministers. So the original proposal of my going to Peking was 
allowed to stand. 

At the end of April I left for Peking. After a two days’ stay in 
Hong Kong where the Press was most intrigued about my assign- 
ment, we embarked for Tientsin on the Butterfield and Swire 
ship, the Poyang. 

The Poyang was a coaster of no more than 3,000 tons and as it 
carried very little cargo — a mere forty tons — ^it pitched and rolled 
when there was even the suspicion of a breeze. One day, half-way 
up to Tientsin, a nationalist gunboat was sighted but it went past 
us. The gunboat did not frighten us so much as the elaborate 
precautions taken by the company against the possibility of an 
attack by pirates. At every important point on the ship, guards 
armed with rifles were posted who watched the ship day and 
night. They wore on their shoulders the legend A.P.G. (anti- 
pirate guards). The rails separating the aft of the ship, occupied by 



72 


IN TWO CHINAS 


Chinese deck passengers, had frightening spikes, and the move- 
ments of these passengers were carefully watched all the time. 
This gave our voyage the appearance of z- perilous adventure. I 
enquired of one of the officers why all this precaution was being 
taken. His reply was that the danger from piracy was a real one 
md when a boat carried Chinese deck passengers there was no 
certainty that at least a few of them were not disguised pirates, 
ready to overwhelm the crew and take control of ^e ship at any 
, time. He mentioned to me a few. recent instances, one of which 
related to quite a large liner ! The Poyang had on board a number 
of Chinese deck passengers, and after hearing all the stories about 
pirates I often used to stand at the barrier and try to scrutinize the 
faces of these men, wondering if I could spot a pirate ! 

I recall very well the feelings which agitated me as the boat 
entered the Taku Bar. I knew I was entering a strange and new 
world. I knew that my previous experience, either in the West or 
in Kuomintang China, would be of no great help to me. My 
knowledge of communism was only from books. In fact, except 
for the Soviet and Eastern bloc diplomats in Nanking, I had not 
known any communists at all. All my training has been in the 
' liberal radicalism of the West and consequently, though I was in 
some measure familiar with the economic doctrines of Marx, I 
.T had no sympathy for a political system in which individual liberty 
|l did not fin d a prominent place. But as against all this, I had a deep 
feeling of sympathy for die Chinese people, a desire to see them 
united, strong and powerful, able to stand up against the nations 
which had oppressed them for a hundred years, a psychological 
appreciation of their desire to wipe out the humiliations which 
foUowed the western domination of their country and to proclaim 
the’ message of Asia Resurgent. In these matters the attitudes of 
Tndi^ and China were similar. Where they difiered was in their 
poHtical structure, in their conception of social life, and perhaps 
more than even that, in their attitude to the world. India had taken 
up openly the position that the world could not be divided into 
Tts^ep and.^ts; that the idea that there can be only two camps in 
^^Ti^^ridT^e Faithful and the Kafir, was basically unsound. Mao 
Tse-tung, on the other hand, had publicly proclaimed his faith that 



AN INTERLUDE IN INDIA 


11 

there can be only two camps and all who are not of the Faithful 
are Kafirs. It was my mission, as I saw it, to prove it to him that 
a neutral position was also possible. 

I looked upon my forthcoming assignment with much curiosity 
but with no sense of depression. I knew it would not be any easy 
life. I knew there were issues on which India and China were 
likely to disagree, but I felt that, given a reasonable opportunity, I 
might be able to establish a basis of relationship which would work 
out advantageously to both countries. 



CHAPTER VI 


ARRIVAL IN COMMUNIST PEKING 

I T was on the 13th of May (1950) that I arrived at Tientsin. 
The journey from Hong Kong had seemed interminably long 
though it only took seven days. The captain of the ship, a 
Scotsman named Holmes, had many stories about the communists 
in Shanghai and Tientsin. On the whole his impression seemed to 
be that the new regime was elEcient and meant business. He also 
informed me that the Americans seemed to be doing good busi- 
ness in Tientsin and that two U.S. ships had lately brought raw 
cotton for the Tientsin mills and had returned fully loaded. I 
mention this only to show that the fanatical attitude towards 
China, which the American pubHc was slowly developing, had 
hot yet reached the stage where it interfered with free enterprise. 

We weighed anchor at about 2.30 in the afternoon. The re- 
entry into China was indeed different from the departure only a 
few months ago. Then we had left without ceremony. There was 
no one to see us off. We were “ex-ambassadors” going away 
unhonoured because we were not wanted. Everything, including 
exit permits, had to be asked for as a favoiur. Now the position was 
totally different. The vice-mayor on behalf of the city admini- 
stration, and the Chief of Protocol in Tientsin on behalf of the 
Foreign Offce, came on board with the Indian charge d’affaires. 
Sen, to welcome me. The vice-mayor even made a short speech ! 
We stayed for the day at the Astoria House Hotel. 

Tientsin, like Shanghai, had been a foreign city, divided into 
British, French, and other concessions. The houses are in foreign 
style and the streets have a European appearance. I liked Tientsin 
better than Shanghai, though it is less pretentious and does not 
boast of skyscrapers, clubs with unusually long bars, and the other 
speciahties of the Paris of the East. Tientsin seemed to me better 
spread out, more soHd, and less artificial than Shanghai. After the 



ARRIVAL IN COMMUNIST PEKING 


75 

war, as a result of the exclusion of the Japanese, German, and 
Italian business, the economic life of the city came to be dominated 
by the three British business giants, Butterfield and Swire, Jardin 
Mathcsons, and the Kailan Mining Administration, nominally a 
Sino-British corporation but in fact a British one. With the com- 
ing of the communists, however, the position of the foreign 
business community had been made extremely difficult. The 
Tientsin Tug and Lighter Company which is a Butterfield and 
Swire concern, for example, had not been allowed to operate, as 
the river had been declared an inland waterway; yet it had to pay 
all its Chinese staff. The Kailan Mines Administration, which is 
one of the biggest investments in the East, was, it was reported, 
on the point of bankruptcy though its daily extraction of coal 
amounted then to 14,000 tons. Other foreign concerns were no 
better off. 

We left for Peking the next day. A large special carriage had 
been reserved for my party and I was accompanied by an English- 
speaking officer of the Protocol who supphed us every few 
minutes with fresh cups of tea. An interesting fact about the 
journey was that all the attendants in the train were women. I was 
informed that even in such “men’s work” as driving locomotives 
women were now being freely employed. Ma Mu-mdng — the 
protocol officer — ^also told me, and I had the statement! verified 
later, that an express train from Manchuria had been brought into 
Peking staffed exclusively by women. Certainly in New China 
women seemed to have come into their own. 

The train arrived in Peking punctually at 6.30 . 1 was, however, 
asked to wait inside the carriage for a minute to be officially 
welcomed by the authorities. A minute later Wang Ping-nan, 
head of the general office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 
Wang Jo-ju, Chief of Protocol, Wu Han, vice-mayor of 
Peking, and other dignitaries came into the carriage and expressed 
their welcome in a short speech in Chinese, which was, of 
course, translated to me. I naturally replied in English. After this 
exchange of compliments I was escorted outside and presented to 
the representatives of other missions who had come there to 
receive me. All the foreign missions including the Soviet Mlission 



76 


IN TWO CHINAS 


were represented by senior officials. General Rochin, the Soviet 
Ambassador, bad even sent a special message of welcome through 
his counsellor. From the station I was taken to the Wagon-Lit 
Hotel. 

The Wagons-ht is one of the most famous hostehies in the 
East; often alluded to with a sense of glamour and romance in the 
Hterature relating to China. Like Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo, it was. 
also associated with diplomats and other international personages. 
Situated in the heart of what was the Legation Quarter, that Mecca 
of racialism with the great embassies of England, France, U.S.A., 
Japan, Russia, and Germany surroundiug it, the Grand Hotel des 
Wagons-ht once symbolized the dominance which the European 
nations had estabhshed in the imperial city itself. The Legation 
Quarter was an enclave, acknowledging no authority of the former 
Chinese Government, fortified, poHced and defended by the 
powers, who had barracks attached to the legations in which 
foreign troops were quartered. Under the terms of the Boxer 
protocol, the powers had even reserved the right of excluding the 
Chinese firom this area. 

In its general layout, in the architectural style of its buddings, 
and in general atmosphere the Legation Quarter was a bit of 
Europe transplanted into China. The legations — elevated to 
embassies during the latter days of the Kuomintang — ^were truly 
fantastic. The British Embassy covers an enormous area, enclosed 
by a hi gh wall, in which the central place is occupied by a Chinese 
pavdion. The embassy house, constructed on the model of a 
British country residence, was no doubt rneant to impress the 
“Heathen Chinese.” The other European nations, and of course 
Japan, had followed the lead of the British. The great powers vied 
with each other and the lesser ones Idee Belgium and Holland tried 
within their means to Hve up to the standards set by the great 
powers. 

' The Grand Hotel des Wagons-ht had been a kind of miniature 
expression of this spirit. W^hen I visited P eking in September, I94S> 
almost at the very end of the Kuomintang period, there was stdl a 
faint reflection of its past glory. The bar was crowded at aU times 
and the lounge was noisy and gay with crowds of American men 



ARRIVAL IN COMMUNIST PEKING 


77 

and women and a sprinHing of Europeans of all nationalities. It 
had then the atmosphere of a continental hotel frequented by 
American tourists. The most flourishing trade inside the hotel was 
then in curios, mostly fakes, which were bought at fabulous prices 
by foreigners. All transactions then were in dollars and those who 
did not have a plentiful supply of that currency felt practically left 
out. 

Now of course the situation was entirely changed. A week or 
two before I arrived, the hotel had been acquired from its British 
proprietors by the People’s Government to be used for oflSdal 
purposes. The curio shops had received notice to quit and there 
was neither noise nor gaiety in the lounge. The hotel was, however, 
fuU, not only with the members of foreign missions waiting to 
find accommodation, but with a large group of Soviet technicians 
who were occupying two whole floors. After two or three weeks, 
it ceased to be a hotel and was turned over to the Soviet experts 
as a hostel. 

Of cotnrse, the Legation Quarter is now called by that name only 
by foreigners. During the Japanese occupation its privileges had 
more or less ceased. When the Kuomintang took over Peking after 
the war, the European nations had given up extra-territoriality and 
with it the immunities and franchises they had enjoyed in the 
Legation Quarter. When the People’s Government was formally 
established, it proceeded to evict the British, the French, and the 
Americans from lands which they had ‘illegally’ encroached upon 
to build barracks. With that, the last symbol of the special position 
of the Legation Quarter also vanished. 

I had made up my mind from the beginning to select a residence 
for myself outside the Legation area. I had no desire to be asso- 
ciated with the Quarter, which stood so much for European domi- 
nation in the East. The house which Sen, in consultation with the 
Foreign Oflice, had selected for me, was one facing the city wall on 
a main street between the Cheng Men and Ho Ping Men. The 
house belonged to some Chinese dignitary, who apart from 
numerous courtyards and houses and reception rooms in Chinese 
style had also built for his own convenience a modem house with 
up-to-date fittings. In the front of this house which was situated 



78 


IN TWO CHINAS 


away from the street was a beautiful roclc-gar<len and a number of 
old and noble trees. The pavilion attached to the garden had 
scenes from the Dream of the Red Chamber painted on its sides. The 
house was in keeping with the atmosphere of the city and had also 
the conveniences of a modem building. 

Three days after my arrival, Chou En-lai, the Prime Minister, 
received me in the main drawing room at the Wai Chiaopu— the 
Chinese Forei^ Office. Like everyone else interested in Far 
Eastern poHtics I had not only heard of Chou but had followed his 
career from the days when he was Deputy Commander of the 
Shanghai rebelHon, which is the theme of Mahaux’ Condition 
Humaine. I was, therefore, looking forward to the interview. 
After I had been shown into the drawing-room Chou walked in. 
He is a well-set-up, handsome man, youthful in appearance, vrith a 
mass of black hair and a face which is pleasant and at the same 
time completely composed. He was dressed in the standard black 
closed coat and trousers "with the inevitable fountain-pen sticking 
out from the pocket. He walked into the room with calm dignity 
and accosted me with cordiaHty. We settled down for a long talk. 

Considering that Chou En-lai had perhaps the most difficult job 
in the world — ^as he was both -the Prime Minister and Foreign 
Minister of China, besides being one of the Vice-Chairmen of the 
Supreme Military Council, and a member of the central executive 
committee of the Party — ^he appeared to me to possess an extra- 
ordinary serenity of countenance. Nehru, whom he resembles, in 
many respects, looks worried, except when he smiles or laughs in 
company. Chou En-lai smiles only faintly and he generally main- 
tains an attitude of impenetrabiHty. What I noticed first about him 
were his hands. Not only were they carefully tended, but the 
fingers were like tender onion shoots, as the Chinese describe 
them, and he gesticulated with them with great effect. 

Our conversation lasted for exacdy an hour and a half. His 
questions to me were most penetrating and dealt mainly with 
problems of industrial production, land o-wning, conditions of the 
peasantry, etc. His information about India seemed to be vague, 
and all his questions touched on issues which were conunon to 
India and China. I felt he was making comparisons all the time in 



ARRIVAL IN COMMUNIST PEKINC 79 

order to understand the differences and similarities of our prob- 
lems. He came back again and again to the question of steel and 
electric power and during the talk told me how important it was 
for Asian peoples that our capacity in these two fields should be 
increased. 

After this long interview, which ended as usual with toasts, I 
came away with the impression that I was talking with one who 
was no doctrinaire, but a practical statesman, one with whom it 
was possible to discuss and do business. Clearly, he was fully 
aware of the reahties behind and beyond poHtics. Chou En-lai is, 
without doubt, a staunch and convinced commimist and a trained 
theoretician but he also has his feet firmly planted on mother 
earth. 

The next day the Chief of Protocol called on me at the hotel to 
inform me that the Chairman (Mao Tse-tung) had fixed 5 p.m. on 
the 20th for the presentation of my Letters of Credence. I was, in 
a measure, reheved, as I had heard that the Rumanian and Czech 
Ambassadors had presented their credentials at eleven o’clock at 
night, as Mao Tse-tung had no other time to spare. In fact one of 
the curious things in China which I noticed later was the tendency 
of the new regime to have their interviews late at night, perhaps 
as a result of conferences and discussions which went on inter- 
minably during day time. At least three of my important inter- 
views with Chou En-lai took place after 10 p.m. and one very 
important interview was at midnight ! 

I confess I was not a httle excited at the idea of a talk with one 
who had changed the course of history so violently in Asia. Was 
he a new Chingiz, an emperor thinking in terms of altering the 
map of a continent, or the chosen leader of a resurgent people, 
driving out those who had sold out the Chinese Revolution and 
pushing back to the sea, from whence they came, the western 
nations who had enslaved the nations of Asia ? How did he, this 
rough-hewn warrior bred on mountain-tops and in caves, compare 
with Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru, the hberators of the 350 
millions of India, and with his old enemy, Chiang Kai-shek? I had 
read that he was a student of classical Chinese literature. It was 
clear that he was a thinker of originality, for his pubhshed writings 



8o 


IN TWO CHINAS 


on New Democracy, On a Coalition Government, etc., showed a 
powerful and analytical mind. 

The presentation of credentials took place with the usual 
ceremonies in the Chairman’s official residence, one of th,e smaller 
palaces of the Manchu emperors situated on the shores of the 
south lake. It was said to have been built by the Emperor Chien 
Lung for his Turki favourite, known as the Fragrant Concubine. 
The entrance to the palace is through a gate, where once stood, it 
is said, a tower from which the Fragrant Lady used to show herself.' 
to her relatives, a very exceptional favour according to the court ^ 
etiquette which governed the harem of the Son of Heaven. Mao 
Tse-tung did not live in this palace. He resided with his wife, a 
very good-looking woman, who is reputed to have been a cinema 
actress, in the Himting Lodge in' the summer hills. The formal 
ceremony was short and impressive and while I emphasized in my 
speech how the cause of peace would be strengthened by a poHcy 
of firm friendship between India and China, Mao Tse-timg in his 
turn alluded not only to our common traditions but also to our 
common struggles to recover our freedom. 

After the ceremony was over Mao Tse-tung led me to a small 
reception room where we talked about India and China for over 
half an hour. Only Chou En-lai and an interpreter were present, 
besides ourselves. Mao opened the conversation by saying that in 
China there was an old behef that if a man Hved a good Hfe he 
' would be reborn in India. We talked about Asia in general and 
about the withdrawal ofEuropeans from the continent, but he said 
more than once that as long as European economic power was 
entrenched in Asia the freedom was not complete. My reply was 
that the right method of excluding European economic power was 
by the development of our own resources and that we in India 
were determined to follow this poHcy. He also asked me about 
conditions in Burma and seemed gready interested when I told 
him that the Burmese Government was as determined as we were 
to their full independence. He showed considerable 

interest in Buddhism and asked what influence it had in India. 
Another question in which he seemed interested was the nature of 
our relations with Britain. The conversation was extremely 



ARRIVAL IN COMMUNIST PEKING 


8l 

.Cordial and again many toasts were drunk, to the friendsliip between 
pur two countries. 

1 Mio Tse-tung is a little over average height: in fact for a 
southerner he may be considered a tall man. He is heavily built, 
with broad shoulders and short but thick neck. The impression 
which his {zee conveys is pleasant and benevolent and the look m 
his eyes is kindly. His forehead is broad and the encroaching 
baldness makes it even more impressive. The mass of black hair 
that crowns his head frames the face effectively. His personality is 
' impressive but not intimidating and he has the gift of making 
people feel at home. There is no cruelty or hardness either in his 
eyes or in the expression of his mouth. In fact he gave me the 
impression of a philosophical mind, a little dreamy but absolutely 
sure of itself From his early days in his father’s little farm to his 
present dazzling eminence the way had been hard and long. In the 
hills of Ching Kian-shan, resisting the punitive expeditions of 
Chiang, leading his flock like a new Moses to the promised land in 
an unparalleled trek across motmtains, ridges, and deserts, living in 
caves in Yenan, fighting the K.M.T., which was determined on 
annihilating him, organizing guerrillas against the Japanese, and 
finally planning the great war of reconquest which gave to him 
mastery over the whole of China, from Manchuria to the borders 
of India and Indo-China, over a territory such as no Chinese ruler 
since Kangsi had controlled, Mao Tse-tung in his epic hfe must 
have experienced many hardships and endured tremendous 
sufferings. Yet his face showed no signs of bitterness, cruelty or 
sorrow. 

Mao Tse-tung speaks with a soft voice and his speech is not 
hurried. He has a sense of history which came out in many ways 
during our conversation. For example, he wanted to know the 
relationship of the great Moguls to the Mongols. He also felt 
deeply as an historical thinker the injustices that European imperial- 
ism had inflicted on Asia. It seemed to be his view that Europe had 
unbalanced the life in Asia, and the work of tliis generation of 
liberators was to recover the balance. 

For one who was nearing sixty and had undergone the troubles 
he had to go through Mao seemed healthy and vigorous. The 
E 



82 


IN TWO CHINAS . 

peasant stock from which he comes is probably the hardiestin thu 
world, and Mao, in spite of his worries as the head of a great State 
and probably the most hard-worked man in C hina , seemed well 
able to stand it. 

To compare Mao wth Chiang Kai-shek would be unfair. 
Chiang is no doubt a forceful personahty, a man of determination 
and character, but he was hard and self-centred with a streak of 
cruelty in him. The way he rooted out the family of General Yang 
for three generations, including the youngest children, for the 
crime of having detained him in Sian is indicative of his revengeful 
spirit. Also, it had never been claimed for him that Chiang was a 
man of culture. A more profitable comparison would be with 
Nehru. Both are men of action, but with dreamy, ideahstic 
temperaments. While both may be considered humanists in the 
broadest sense of the term, Nehru has his roots in Western 
liberahsm which affects even his sodahst thinking. Mao Tse-tung, 
being mostly self-educated, "with his economics and history 
learnt from Marx and Lenin, has perhaps no use for the liberal 
creed of individual hberty. However, as one bred in the classical 
literature of China, with an early Buddhist training, it is perhaps 
fair to add that Mao has something more than the dry theories of 
Marxism in his mental make-up. 

The next few days were taken up by visits , to leading Chinese 
personahties. In turn I called on Chu Teh, Liu Shao-chi, Li 
Chi-shen, Chang Lan (all Vice-Chairmen), Huang Wen-pai, 
Kuo Mo-joj Shen Yen-ping and other ministers. As all these are 
personalities of some consequence and so little is known outside 
about them a brief description may be of interest. Among the 
Vice-Chairmen, Chu Teh takes precedence [over everyone else. 
He along with Mao Tse-tung was responsible for budding up the 
People’s Liberation Army, and for bringing it up to .the present 
state of efficiency: for planning and organizing the great cam- 
paigns which destroyed the Kuomintang forces. Bom of a 
farmer’s family (one of thirteen) in Szechuan, Chu Teh was 
educated for mditary service and became an officer of the new 
army in 1909. In an article published in ipjo mourning the death 
of his mother, Chu Teh has described his early days and the 



ARRIVAL IN COMMUNIST PEKING 83 

difficulties his parents had to undergo to give him an education. 
From his childhood he seems to have been a revolutionary. It is 
an undoubted ffict that he and his regiment vigorously opposed 
Yuan Shih kai’s attempt to restore the monarchy. When the first 
revolution failed and the coimtry became a prey to war lords, Chu 
Teh left for Europe for higher military studies. Then he became a 
communist and when the northern expedition was organized 
under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek and with the co- 
operation of the communists, he was in command of a unit. It was 
only in 1928 that he stepped prominently on the stage of Chinese 
history, when in association with Chou En-lai he organized the 
revolt of Nanchang and thus laid the foundation of the People’s 
Liberation Army. How he brought his ragged troops to join Mao 
Tse-tung and his band on the Ching Kan-shan mountains and 
how between them they organized the People’s Liberation Army 
and resisted the successive annihilation campaigns of Chiang are 
well known. Today he is the hero of the Red Army, the genius 
behind its reorganization and the symbol of its hardihood and 
strength. 

In appearance Chu Teh is short and stocky. There is notliing to 
differentiate him from the millions of Chinese peasants whom he 
has put in uniform. He is modest and retiring by nature. I remem- 
ber once at a garden party in my house he quietly went by himself, 
after shaking hands with us, and sat in a pavihon with a few friends 
drinking beer and chatting pleasantly, without expecting any 
special courtesies or attention. When I went to call on him, the 
first thing I noticed was his extreme simpHcity, and the natural- 
ness of his conversation. Chu Teh is undoubtedly a great revolu- 
tionary leader, the joint creator of a mighty army, but I could not 
imagine him as a communist thinker. His present wife whom I met 
at an army day party is a young woman of not more tlian thirty- 
five. She had a romantic career, starting Hfe as a domestic servant, 
from which condition of slavery she ran away to join the P.L.A. 
where as a sharp-shooter she became a legendary figure. In 
appearance she is a typical revolutionary woman, who makes no 
pretence to womanly graces. 

Liu Shao-chi was at the time the recognized theoretician of the 



^4 IN TWO CHINAS 

party after Mao Tse-tung^ He is said to be die author of the scheme 
of land reform and of the general programme of socialization, 
which guides the economic evolution of China. In any case he 
was more interested in the ideological aspect of the movement 
than in the practical working of government. We talked mainly of 
land reform and I found him reserved arid dogmatic. The general 
idea at the time was that he was the djCsignated successor to Mao 
Tse-tung. It was. difficult for me to form any definite opinion 
about him, as I never was able to estabHsh a contact of minds with 
him though during my stay in Peking I had occasion to rneet him 
a number of times. 

Of Li Clii-shen and Chang Lan there is very httle one can 
profitably say. Li is the leader of the Kuomintang Revolutionaries. 
He was Chief of Staff to Chiang at one time and parted company 
with him after the war. Undoubtedly his defection helped the 
communist cause, but today, apart from liis position as a Vice- 
Chairman, he does not seem to count for much. His wife is a lady 
of great charm, not in the least affected by communist fashions and 
still wearing elegant silks and costly jewellery. My wife became 
very good friends with her, as she was of the orthodox type and 
they found subjects of common interest to talk to each other. 
Chang Lan, the leader of the Democratic Party, is also more of an 
historic figure than a present force. The Democratic Party had a 
hold on the intellectuals at the time of the Kuomintang. They 
were determined opponents of Chiang, and did everything in their 
power to undermine him. In fact, the defection of intelHgentsia 
from Chiang’s leadership was to a large extent the work of the 
Democratic Party. Chang Lan is a “venerable ancient.” He is over 
seventy-five,* an impressive figure, tall, well set-up with a fine 
beard and always dressed in flowing sflk robes. He is a man of 
considerable intellectual power and was a professor before he 
took to pohtics. 

Among the Vice-Premiers and Ministers whom I called on, 
three men are worthy of special mention: Kuo Mo-jo, Huang 
Wen-pai and Shen Ying-ping or Mo-Tan as he is known in 
hterary circles. Kuo Mo-jo is what is called in China an unattached 
* He passed away recently. 



ARRIVAL IN COMMUNIST PEKING 85 

“democratic personage.” He is certainly not a communist, though 
his democracy would appear to be of a kind which finds all the 
virtues in communism. A leading archaeologist and historian and 
a poet and writer who contributed a great deal to the Hterary 
renaissance of modem China, Kuo Mo-jo is a man of remarkable 
intellectual attainments. His main contribution in the field of 
archaeology was his interpretation of the Shang Bone writings, 
which carried back the authentic history of China by a thousand 
years. He is the President of the reconstituted Acedmia Sinica and 
may be said to be the leading intellectual in new China. Kuo Mo-jo 
is Mao Tse-ttmg’s ambassador to all cultural gatherings, and the 
chief representative of China on the Peace Council. In liis approach 
to cultural and intellectual matters I did not find that he had any 
communist prejudices. He admired the classics of the Tang period 
and at least in one conversation with me, he discussed with pro- 
found insight the relations of Chinese drama with early Indian 
theatre. He was undoubtedly high in favour with the Govern- 
ment, was the Vice-Premier m charge of cultural affairs and 
generally the spokesman of the regime when cultural delegations 
from other countries arrived in China. 

Huang Wen-pai, the Vice-Premier in charge of fight industries, 
is a difierent type of personality. He is the head of a minor party, 
which, during the civil war, had associated itself closely with the 
communists. When I visited Yenan a few months later, I was 
shown a note written by him which is preserved there, the mean- 
ing of which was as follows: “I may not five to see the Liberation 
of China, but when that day arrives, let it be remembered that I, 
Huang Wen-pai, visited Yenan three times.” Huang is in many 
ways a cultured, patriotic mandarin of the old type, intensely 
proud of China and its ancient civilization, a believing Buddhist 
and a vegetarian! He is always ready with his quotation from the 
classics and his memory in this respect is extraordinary. One day I 
went to see him in connection with a passage which seemed 
obscure in an English translation of the famous drama The 
Western Chamber. J had only to indicate the passage to him and he 
quoted the whole and entered into a long discourse on the great- 
ness of the work. I asked him politely what his attitude was to 



86 


IN TWO CHINAS 


such “reactionary and feudalistic literature.” He said; “It is a part 
of our Chinese inheritance. We are building up a new society, but 
it does not mean we discard or disown the achievements of our 
ancient civilization.” Short, but broad-shouldered and with a 
twinkle in his eye. Vice— Premier fiuang always seemed to me one 
of the most sympathetic personahties of new China. 

Shen Ying-ping, better known by his pen name. Mo Tan, was 
the Minister of Culture. He is an , outstanding novelist whose 
panoramic work in three volumes describes the rise, disintegration, 
and fall of the middle-class movement in China. He is something 
of an “exquisite,” always dressed in elegant clothes, even when 
sporting the rather drab uniform of new China. A man of abihty 
and understanding, he gave me the impression of being ill- 
adjusted mentally with his surrormdings. Other interesting per- 
sonahties who may be mentioned are Madame Shih Liang, the 
Minister of Justice, Madame Li Teh-chuan, the Minister of Pubhc 
Health, and Shen Chun-ju, the Chief Justice. Shih Liang was 
one of the leading lawyers of China before she assumed her present 
post. Though a radical in her poHtics and a member of the 
Government, she does not evidendy foUow the communist 
directive about hpstick and make-up. Whenever I have had the 
pleasure of seeing her, she was dressed ,with great care and 
taste. She was one of the seven “men lawyers” whom Chiang 
Kai-shek arrested at one time for her outspoken opposition 
to the K.M.T. regime ! Her husband who speaks EngHsh well 
has some kind of a post in the Foreign Office but is generally 
inconspicuous. 

Madame Li is a different kind of personahty. She is the widow 
of the “Christian General,” Feng Yu-hsiang, whose Hfe ended 
tragically on a ship in the Black Sea while returning from the 
United States. Madame Li is a picture of quiet efficiency, makes no 
pretence of being elegant or well dressed but is obviously full of 
energy and competence. 

Shen Chun-ju, the famous jurist, is a strang^looking man. 
Hardly five feet in height, with an elongated head, flowing beards 
on both sides of his chin, he gives one the impression of deformity. 
But a few minutes of conversation are enough to show that this 



ARRIVAL IN COMMUNIST REKING 87 

Strange head contains an amazingly powerful brain and his bright 
eyes are capable of acute observation- 
These were among the first people I met in New China and 
generally speaking I gained the impression that the Central 
People’s Government was being run by men and women who 
were efficient and honest, who knew their minds and were 
prepared to put their best into the service of the State. There was 
a dynamism in all of them, a desire to go forward, which is 
perhaps the characteristic of aUnew Governments. It was significant, 
however, that it was not a government of youth. They had been 
tried and tested over a period of years and none of the leading 
personahties seemed under fifty. 



CHAPTER VII 


OFFICIAL RECEPTIONS 

A WEEK after I had presented my credentials, I received an 
invitation fromMao Tse-tung to a banquet in my honour. 
The first thing that surprised me was that my wife was 
not included in the invitation. In new . China it appeared that 
. wives do not generally take part in official functions urJess they 
hold official positions themselves. The dinner was timed for six 
o’clock. In these and in other matters New China has discarded 
' W^estem fashions. Though it was an official banquet no dress had 
^j^bee^;^res^ffied. It was to the palace on the l^e where I had 
presenteomy credentials that the officers of the protoco l took me. 
The lake itself had been emptied and was dry. The. soil was being 
removed in lorries by units of the People’s Liberation Army, to 
serve as manure in the fields outside the city. My companion 
explained to me that they were beautifying the lake by opening 
canals and keeping the water fresh. The “Ocean Terrace,” the tiny 
artificial island on the lake where the reforming Emperor Kang 
Hsu was imprisoned and allowed to die a slow death, lay to our 
right. The yellow tiles of its roof shone like a mass of molten gold 
in the rays of the setting sun but the reflection in the water which 
gave it an xmearthly beauty when I saw it last, was absent as the 
lake was dry. 

On arrival I was received by the Director of Ceremonies and 
escorted to the drawing-room where I foimd waiting for me all 
the Vice-Chairmen including General Chu Teh, the Prime 
Minister and the senior Vice Foreign Adimster, Chang Han-fu. 
Mao Tse-tung himself though the nominal host, was absent. I was 
told that hehad not been keeping well and therefore was avoiding 
all dinners and other evening functions. It was Chu Teh who 
played the host. 

We spent a Httle time talking of general things. I was phed with 



OFFICIAL RECEPTIONS 


89 

innumerable questions about industrial conditions and social 
changes in India. It was Chou En-lai and Liu Shao-chi who asked 
most of the questions with Chu Teh putting in a word now and 
then. The dinner itself was a very interesting function. It was of 
course Chinese food that was served, but the hors d’ oeuvre was 
spread in the Soviet fashion. The table was loaded with delicacies 
and we began as usual with toasts in Chinese rice wine to the 
friendship between India and China, the success of my mission, 
etc. For all the cordiality and pleasant conversation there was an 
air of artificial restraint and I could sense a feeling of uncertainty 
in the minds of my hosts as to how far they should go in their 
attitude of cordiality towards me. 

A few days later there was a formal reception to all the diplo- 
mats at the Foreign Office. It was one of the most curious functions 
that I have ever attended. We were all received at the head of the 
stairs by Chou En-lai and Madame Chou. The first curious thing I 
noticed was that everyone, except the Danish Minister who was in 
tails, was dressed most informally. The Chinese guests, who were 
mostly officials of the Foreign Office and those selected for service' 
abroad, were in loose fitting close coats and trousers which con- 
stitute the official uniform for both men and women. Some of the 
higher officials looked distinguished even in this dress but the 
general impression was one of calculated imtidiness. The impres- 
sion I gained — ^at the first party — was that the communists went 
through it as a matter of unpleasant duty. There was no conversa- 
tion, no atmosphere of friendliness. After the dinner was over we 
were led into a hall where we were entertained with two propa- 
ganda films. 

After this official reception, a friendly dinner party specially for 
us came as a pleasant surprise. Barely a week after the reception we 
were invited by Chou En-lai and his wife and I steeled myself for 
the same impersonal entertainment as we had to suffer before. But 
everything was different this time. The wives of the Chinese 
officials were there, all suitably dressed in long silk gowns — 
newly made, as one could see. Madame Chou, whom we came 
to know and admire later, was all graciousness and the con- 
versation before dinner was friendly, cheerful and pleasant. 



90 


IN TWO CHINAS 

/ 

There was warmth and cordiality in the atmosphere which we 
greatly appreciated. 

The dinner was in the Chinese style with innumerable courses, 
but I was happy to see them served in dishes and not kept in the 
centre with each one taking what he wanted with the chopsticb 
with which he had already eaten. A mature and delicious Che- 
kiang wine was served in small glasses and toasts followed with 
appropriate speeches. After the meal was over we sat out on the 
terrace and talked about things in general. Chou En-lai spoke to 
me of his days in Chungking where he was stationed as Mao Tse- 
tung’s envoy to the National Government during the years of 
war. He alluded to Pandit Nehru’s visit to Chungki^ and how he 
was sorry to have missed him. The conversation turned on Chiang 
Kai-shek and I told him that in my view Chiang was a patriot, 
but that his mind was medieval and that he viewed things from a 
narrow point of view. Chou would not give him credit for 
enhghtened patriotism even of the bourgeois type. Chiang’s 
attitude, declared Chou, was monarchical, that is, he was attached 
to China only so long as he and China were synonymous. 

I asked him about the famous Sian incident when Chiang Kai- 
shek was arrested by the young marshal. It was as a result of Chou 
En-lai’s intervention that Chiang was then released from captivity. 
So much everyone knows. I wanted to try and get Chous 
version of the incident. He talked quite fireely about it and said 
that in. the then circumstances (1936) his party was convinced that 
the leadership of Chiang Kai-sh^ was necessary in national 
interests. “There was no one else who was in a position to organize 
national resistance against Japan. The other leaders of the Kuomin- 
tang, especially Ho Ying-diin and his fiiends, were for a com- 
promise with Japan. W^e had no doubt that umted national 
opposition to Japan was the first step towards the liberation of 
China and this could then have been organized , only imder 
Chiang’s leadership. To have shot him, as the young marshal 
threatened, would have been disastrous.” Such was the gist of his 
argument. 

Another subject of interest wHch I raised with him was about 
the historic insurrection in Shanghai in 1927 when he was the 



OFFICIAL RECEPTIONS 


91 


Deputy Commander of the rebels. I asked why the revolutionaries 
had allowed themselves to be crushed after they had practically 
over Shanghai. Chou rephed: “We had not anticipated the 
revolutionary enthusiasm of the people. Our leadership was in- 
experienced. We did not know either how to exploit our success 
or the tactics of retreat. The Shanghai workers and the peasants of 
the neighbouring countryside were ready; but we did not have 
the machinery of co-operation ready. So Chiang was able to 
crush us.” 

This dinner was a great success and estabUshed the first social 
contact between us. 



CHAPTER VIII 


LIFE IN PEKING. I 

D iplomatic life in Peking was organized in an unusual 
way. Apart from the now normal division between the 
Soviet bloc diplomats and the representatives of the 
western powers Peking had three further groups: those non- 
communist countries who had recognized China and maintained . 
diplomatic missions, those who had recognized but were still 
negotiating diplomatic representation, and those who had not 
recognized but had kept some official in charge of their affairs. 
The first group consisted of India, Burma, Pakistan, Indonesia, 
Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Finland. Those who had 
recognized but had only negotiating envoys included the United 
Kingdom, Holland and Norway. The Belgian, French and Italian 
representatives were not recognized and had no diplomatic status. 
There was a further comphcation. There were a number of 
missions in Peking which the non-communist world did not 
recognize. North Korea and Outer Mongolia had regular ambas- 
sadors with unusually large staffs. Viet Minh and East Germany 
maintained permanent “delegations” whose heads had the rank 
of ambassadors. The confusion resulting firom this multiphdty of 
status and recognition and non-recognition of missions may well 
be imagined. The negotiating representatives, e.g. of Britain, were 
not recognized as belonging to the diplomatic corps as their 
relations were not with the Government but only with the Foreign 
Office, for the purpose of a specific negotiation. The Chinese 
officials, excepting the Foreign Minister and those connected with 
the negotiations, pretended not to know them and it was therefore 
embarrassing to have them at the same party. The representatives 
of the States which had not recognized China were of course 
outside the pale. The Korean, the Mongolian, and the Viet 
Minh' Ambassadors were at all Chinese parties, but we did not 



LIFE IN PEKING. I 


93 

recognize them in public and tliey also took no notice of us. 
Slowly, however, I -was able to establish relations on a personal basis 
with die Mongolians and with the Viet Minh. representatives. The 
position of a country like India was especially difficult as it had to 
be on friendly relations with everyone. I had therefore to arrange 
my life in compartments so that no one could feel embarrassed or 
for that matter have any grounds for complaint. s, - 

The Asian representatives made a small nucleus of their own and 
we were therefore able to hold the balance in the social sphere. 
TheBurmese Ambassador, MyntThein, was a diplomatofremark- 
able personal charm whose wife, an able and educated lady, was 
popular in all circles. Monty, as he was known, had an exceptional 
gift for looking at the bright side of things, but as a diplomat he 
was shrewd, observant, and far-seeing. Indonesia was represented 
by a charge d’affaires , Izzak Mahdi, who had been a guerrilla fighter 
in the war of independence and was radical in his political views. 
He spoke practically every European language. We worked 
closely together and I found Mahdi well informed and wise. The 
representatives of European States which mamtained full diplo- 
matic missions were of course career diplomatists. Among them, 
the most effective was Clement Rezzonnico, the Swiss Minister, 
who carried out with conscientious thoroughness his country’s 
poHcy of neutrahty. Rezzonnico’s main concern was humani- 
tarian: to see that the missionaries and foreign nationals who 
had no diplomatic protection received fair treatment or at least 
were afforded fadlities to go out of the country. 

The Soviet bloc representatives were of course the most pro- 
minent in Peking. Of these, N. V. Roschin, the Soviet Ambassador, 
had been my colleague in Nanking. He was a general in the army 
and had been previously miUtary attache at Chungking. His 
knowledge of Chinese poHtics was, therefore, intimate. He was in 
many ways a very helpful man, discussed pubhc affairs freely 
within the limits of his position, and, as doyen of the corps, was 
willing at all times to help other diplomats with advice. During 
my two years of stay in Peking I found him a sympathetic and 
helpful colleague. The Polish Ambassador, Burgin, was also a 
pleasant and friendly diplomat. He had been an underground 



94 IN TWO CHINAS 


fighter during the war and he often regaled me with stories of Iiis 
experiences in Warsaw during the German occupation. The most 
mterestmg of the “New Democratic” Ambassadors was Wezihopf, 
who was the head of the Czechoslovak Ivlission. He was a novehst 
and miter who had spent many years in the United States. I do not 
know "whether he "was a communist , his "wife in any case did not 
seem to be. She was a writer of cliildren’s stories, a cHc and charm- 
ing lady from Vienna, whose attitude towards life one could easily 
notice from her beha-viour. Wezikopfhad much of the European 
spirit which is a characteristic of Czech intellectuals and looked at 
things sometimes from that point of "view. In any case, unlike the 
other Soviet group Ambassadors, he did not pretend that every- 
thing was "wrong in non-communist countries and it was a 
pleasure to discuss general historical and political questions with 
him. 


When I reached Peking the British negotiating representative 
was John (later Sir John) Hutchison. Hutchison had been 
Commerdal Minister in Nanking under Sir Ralph Stevenson. He 
was an excellent man, but did not claim to be much of a politician. 
He was replaced later by Sir Leo Lamb, a totally different type of 
diplomatist. Leo Lamb was an old China hand in the best sense of 
the term who had started in China as a Vice-Consul in some 


distant to"wn and had seen continuous service in the country. He 
had "witnessed the marriage of Emperor Pu Yi in the Forbidden 
City, had seen the Manchu nobles and court functionaries Koiow 
to the Son of Heaven (then exercising his authority "within the 
palace), had kno'wn most of the war lords in their time and had 
watched the rise and fall of the Kuomintang fortunes and had even 


been imprisoned by the Japanese. He spoke Chinese well and was 
greatly interested in Chinese cultiure. But his sympathies were 
all -with the old mandarins, the cultured leisurely class of the past 
who had given so much distinction to social hfe in China. A 
conservative to the core, he had but little sympathy with the 
changes in China and seemed almost to regret the disappearance o 
the Empire. He was in no sense against Chinese nationalism, but 
it seemed to me that he found it cMcult to adjust his mind to the 
changed conditions in China. With him and his wife our relations 



LIFE IN PEKING. I 


95 


were excellent and I benefited greatly from bis unrivalled know- 
ledge and experience. 

At all times Peking had more than its share of eccentrics. 
Previously, in the days of extra-territoriality, their number and 
variety constituted one of the attractions of Peking. With the 
Japanese occupation many of them had gone back to their own 
countries. With the communists in power, the atmosphere was 
even less congenial and yet some of them continued to live their 
lives unperturbed by political changes. The most interesting of all 
the eccentrics I met in Peking (or elsewhere) was Vincenz Hund- 
hausen, poet, musician, pamphleteer and master printer, who had 
forsaken the world and Hved on an artificial island outside the city 
wall. Hundhausen, who is a baron of Prussia, was a lawyer in 
BerUn before the first war and came out to China to settle some 
legal affairs for a big German fiirm. What he did for his chents I do 
not know but Peking cast its spell on him and he announced his 
intention not to return to Europe. He bought some marshy land, 
and an island home for himself, planted poplar trees around it so 
that it was totally invisible from outside, and established himself 
there like a feudal baron, surrounded by his tenants and depen- 
dants. From the grounds, the outside world could not be seen at all; 
but from the terrace of the httle house one could see the Western 
Hills glistening in snow in winter or changing colours like chame- 
leons in spring time. 

There on that island he established the best printing press in 
China, with matrices specially made in Germany, and devoted 
himself to the popularization of Chinese hterature. His translations 
of The Western Chamber and other Chinese classics into German . 
verse are said to be of high quality. In any case they were printed 
by him on beautiful rice paper and bound in Chinese style. 
Hundhausen was a regular noaniac when it came to missionary 
activity. You had only to mention the subject for him to rise up in 
anger and declaim about the misfortunes that missionaries had 
brought on the world. 

The Kuomintang during their last days ruined his dream island. 
During the siege of Peking in 1948, the K.M.T. General cut down 
the magnificent trees surrounding the island, and the old man, then 



9*^ IN TWO CHINAS 

seventy-tliree, had to be carried away by force into the city, so 
that, left alone in the deserted island with armies on both sides, he 
might not starve and die. After the communists occupied Peking, 
he was allowed to return, but the Kuomintang had looted his press 
and there was nothing left of it. Also a new kind of trouble had 
overtaken him. After the communist occupation, his tenants 
became the proprietors of their plots. The old man had therefore 
-only the dilapidated house left to bim. 

There he hved alone, but his spirit was unbroken and he had a 
mind that was still extremely vigorous. In appearance he was 
indeed striking. Over six feet tail, still erect and mihtary and 
Prussian in his bearing in spite of his seventy-five years, with a 
leonine head and a defiant look, Hundhausen challenged the world 
and its vanities. He had only a part-time cook-attendant. In fict he 
had cut his needs to a minimum and was entirely at peace with 
himself. When I went to see him one afternoon he told me that 
he had not seen a visitor for eight weeks. The house, which was in 
a state of utter disrepair, where one was constantly afiaid that the 
staircase may coUapse or the roof fall, was hteraUy covered with 
books on which the dust of ages had collected. There were books 
in German, Russian, French, EngHsh and Chinese — thousands of 
them with a complete first-edition Voltaire and all the German 
classics, some of them in the finest binding. The poetry, drama, 
philosophy of European nations and the Chinese were adequately 
represented. In fact it was difficult to move about in the house, 
because of books. 

I always found a conversation with him invigorating, because in 
spite of the dirt and insanitary conditions of his surroundings 
Hundhausen struck me as being something of a Yogi a Yogi 
who is still at war with prejudice and superstition but with a mind 
that is calm and detached. The wines in the house were brewed by 
himself. He wore the padded long gown of the Chinese, and ate 
their food, and hved rmconcemed with what was happening in 
the world. 

No less interesting a personage was my mend William Empson, 
the poet and critic, who was then professor of English at the 
Peking National University. Empson, with his wife Hetta, a noted 


LIFE IN PEKING. I 


97 

sculptor, lived in a Chinese house near the University. The 
British community — forgetting that he was imdoubtedly the most 
distinguished Englishman in Peking at the time — disapproved of 
his way of Hfe and his refusal to conform to the suburban habits 
of its diplomats. Empson sported a strange type of beard, kept 
company with doubtful Chinese, and allowed his children to play 
in the backyards of Chinese houses where they grew up uninhibi- 
ted. His house, in a not very clean part of Peking, was always more 
xmtidy than even 'the habitation of Hundhausen. There Ezra 
Pound’s Pisan Cantos, textbooks, detective novels and proofs of 
Empson’s own Structure of the Complex World lay cheek by jowl 
with toys of children, Chinese new year paintings, and half finished 
sculptures by Hetta. Empson had been an intimate friend of 
Orwell and we had many interests in common. It was a matter of 
some speculation among my colleagues as to what I should find in 
common with the Empsons. Then someone gave it out that I was 
also a poet of some standing in my own language and that is said 
to have satisfied the stuffed shirts among my colleagues. 

There was one other personality then in Peking who deserves 
some mention. This was the famous Madame Dan, a Manchu 
noblewoman of the ancien regime. She and her sister the famous 
Princess Derling were noted beauties at the Imperial Court before 
the revolution. The Emperor Kang Hsu is even said to have 
offered “marriage” to Madame Dan. Anyway she was lady in 
waiting to the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, the Old Buddha, and 
survived the Imperial regime to become the director of cere- 
monies to Yuan Shih-kai, a post which she claims to have held till 
the capital was shifted by the Kuomintang to Nanking. When that 
happened she opened an exclusive curio shop, for she had indeed 
exquisite taste and was able to obtain genuine treasures from old 
Manchu princely and noble famihes. As she spoke perfect English, 
French, and Japanese and had further the prestige’of having been 
an important member of the old Manchu nobihty she was a 
popular figure in the large cosmopolitan colony in Peking at the 
time and is said to have made a fortune by selling curios to visiting 
foreigners. But those happy days soon came to a close when the 
Japanese took over Peking. It is not quite clear how she carried on 

G 



pS IN TWO CHINAS 

during that time, but according to her the Japanese took away all 
the good things she had and she was reduced to comparative 
poverty. 

When the communists took over there was nothing to do for a 
Manchu princess. Besides she was over seventy years old and 
miserably poor. However they did not interfere with her and she 
eked out a living by giving French lessons to the women of the 
diplomatic colony. But even in her poverty she went about with 
her head high. To all the diplomatic parties she was invited she 
arrived looking the picture of old-world grace, her head beauti- 
fully coifiured and wearing the magnificent silk gowns of earlier 
days. Perhaps the jades she wore . were not genuine, but who 
cared ; She was amazingly beautiful at the age of seventy, straight 
backed, without a wrinkle on her face, dressed as if she were in 
attendance on the Empress. Her husband “General” Dan, an 
insignificant looking Cantonese, - followed her dutifully every- 
where. 

Adadame Dan was not only a beautiful woman with all the 
graces and charms of high aristocracy, but a very courageous one. 
That she was poor as a church mouse everyone knew, but when 
she was invited to a house she came as a princess. She was gay and 
amusing, prepared at her age to give an exhibition of sword 
dancing and other accomplishments. But she had one innocent 
weakness. She had invented a lot of stories about herself, including 
one which claimed that her mother was American ! Photographs 
of her Manchu mother with the Empress have been published in 
many books. In fact everyone knew that she was a pure-blooded 
Manchu and yet she was anxious to impress the foreigners by 
claiming an American mother. Of the. stories of the Imperial 
Court which she invented and circulated there was no end. These 
I suspect were the results of old age. 

Madame Dan was a great favourite with my family. To us she 
was a survival of a vanished age and we were able to understand 
many things about old China by conversations with her. My 
daughter pretended to take lessons from her in French. That 
her not only a little money but an occupation which she could 
report to the authorities, for in China everyone is supposed to 



LIFE IN PEKING. I 99 

work, and unless you have an occupation you may be allotted 
work which you do not like or written down as a reactionary. 

The thing that impressed me most in Peking was the extra- 
ordinary building activity that was going on. The communists 
were anxious not to interfere with the beauty of old Peking. So far 
as the old buddings hke the Forbidden City, theTemple of Heaven, 
and the Temple of Confucius were concerned, the commimists 
concerned themselves mainly with repairs and with undoing the 
neglect of the past. In a short time they had cleared away the 
accumulated dirt of the Pei Hai, the beautiful series of artificial 
lakes in the centre of the city. Fine parks were laid out on its shores 
and even the white Pagoda on the top of the hdl was repaired and 
' repainted. Thek main budding activity, however, was in the area 
where the Japanese had originally intended to erect a new city. 
A cite universitaire was erected there to accommodate the educa- 
tional and research institutions of Peking. An industrial town was 
also erected near Pa Man Chan. In fact New Peking, outside the 
city wad and extending to the Summer Palace, was to be a model 
city with People’s Universities and new style workers’ residences 
— a symbol of the constructive activities of the commimist era. 

The Summer Palace was transformed into a workers’ paradise. 
Rebudt by the Dowager Empress to replace the magnificent 
palace and pleasure gardens of Chien Lung, which the European 
nations in a moment of atavistic relapse had burnt down, the 
Summer Palace was a series of gardens and pavdions set in an 
unimaginably beautiful backgroimd of bids and streams. The 
palace faced a lake which is said to have been constructed arti- 
ficiady. There are innumerable smad pavdions, pagodas, shaded 
walks, and lotus pools in this former imperial retreat. After the 
capital was shifted to Nanking, the Summer Palace, like the 
Forbidden City itself, was left uncared for. Its pavdions were let out 
for nominal rents to foreigners as bungalows for summer or for 
week-end amusements. The new regime wasted no time in turn- 
ing the place into a workers’ resort. One side of the lake was 
converted into a beautiful plage which on Saturdays and Sundays 
is crowded by students and trade unionists who are brought firom 



100 


IN TWO CHINAS 

Peking in special lorries. Organized expeditions bring thousands 
of P.L. A. men and workers who picnic in the gardens and sing and 
play in groups. What the. Old Buddha would have thought of dus 
we can but imagine. 

Another act of the new regime which pleased me greatly was 
the attention it paid to that structure of unique .beauty, the 
Temple of Heaven. When I visited it in 1948 under the Kuomin- 
tang the sight it presented was something which would have 
I broken the heart of the coldest philistine. Refugee “students” 
fi:om the north-east had taken possession of the place and had 
converted the whole place into a filthy and evil smelling lavatory. 
Later I heard that General Fu Tso-yi had, in order to construct an 
air-strip, cut down a great many of the old and noble trees with 
which the temple was surrounded. The communists cleaned up 
the place, planted new trees where they had been cut down, and 
restored the temple to its original beauty. 

But they were not so sensitive about other buddings. The so- 
called Temple of Agriculture was converted into a stadium, and in 
the Temple of Confucius they established, perhaps appropriately, 
a police school. The great Lama Temple was left untouched, per- 
haps in consideration of the rehgious sentiments of the Mongolian 
and Tibetan Buddhists. But, the Central Park, attached to the 
Forbidden City, was converted into a great centre of attraction, 
and the avenue of wistaria and the peony gardens blossomed again 
for the benefit of the Peking pubhc. The Temple of Ancestors in 
the Forbidden City became the workers’ palace with an immense 
open-air tlieatre, and "^th facilities for recreation, amusement, 
and study. Generally it was dear that the new regime was anxious 
to cater for the working classes. 

When I took up my political work the first thing I noticed was 
that apart from Chou Bn-lai and some of his close assodates, 
espedally Chen Chia-kang, no one in China knew anything about 
India. They had only vague ideas about India s pohtical position 
or historical development. Most people in China had a romantic 
interest in India — the inheritance of the Buddhist tradition— but 
no one knew anything of modem India. This was not only due to 
the notorious egocentrism of the Chinese, but because their educa- 



LIPE IN PEKING. I 


lOI 


tion in the past had been controlled by the Americans and to a 
lesser extent by western missionary societies. Their knowledge, as 
of ours m India, was more of western countries than of their 
eastemneighbours. Besides, the leaders ofthe new regime had been 
living mostly in inaccessible areas engaged in guerrilla warfare, 
and such information as they possessed came exclusively from 
communist sources. But soon I discovered that the Chinese were 
anxious to know about India. They were m two minds. Instinc- 
tively they recognized that India was friendly to them; but as 
communists they could only think of India as a capitahst country, 
and by all textbook maxims it seemed clear that India must be 
reactionary and must belong to the opposite camp. The first 
indication I had of their desire to know more about India was 
when I received an invitation to speak on India to the Foreign 
Office officials. This was an exceptional favour, and I took advan- 
tage of the opportunity to emphasize the anti-imperialist character 
of India’s struggle, the common sufferings of the people of Asia 
and therefore the common conditioning of their mind towards 
the world, the common problems of raising standards of life, etc. 
The talk, I was later informed by Chang Han-fu, the Vice- 
Minister, had an excellent effect. Soon, I was asked to deliver a 
formal address to the institute of International Relations and the 
subject I chose was the motivations of the Indian Revolution. 



CHAPTER IX 


KOREA 

W HEN Icame toPekinglhad imagined my mission to be 
nothing more than that of witnessing the development 
of a revolution and ofworking for a better understanding 
between China and India. I hnew, like everyone else, that with a 
commumst China cordial and intimate relations were out of the 
question, but I was fairly optimistic about working out an area of 
co-operation by eliminating causes of misunderstanding, rivalry, 
etc. The only area where our interests overlapped was in Tibet, 
and knowing the importance that every Chinese Government, 
including the Kuomintang, had attached to exclusive Chinese 
authority over that area I had, even before I started for Peking, 
come to the conclusion that the British pohcy (which we were 
supposed to have inherited) of looking upon Tibet as an area in 
which we had special political interests could not be maintained. 
The Prime Minister had also in general agreed with this view. So 
there was nothing which I could then foresee that would make my 
mission unduly difficult, exciting, or troublesome. I had every 
reason to feel that an excellent opportunity was given to me to 
watch the revolution from a vantage ground and to see an 
historical drama of the highest importance being acted in front 
of me by men and women whom I knew personally. 

These pleasant expectations sufiered a rude shock when one day 
in the last week of June, 1950, the Chinese newspapers announced 
that the South Koreans had crossed the frontier, that war had as a 
result broken out between the two Koreas. The next day the 
wireless announced the historic decision of President Truman to 
send American troops to the support of the South Koreans, who 
equally claimed to be the victims of aggression, and further 
to rakp Taiwan tmder the protection of the seventh American 
fleet. After that events moved fast. The Secunty Coimcil (in the 



KOREA 


103 


absence of the Soviets, and with Egypt abstaining and India 
hesitating) declared that the North Koreans were the aggres- 
sors and authorized the United States to enforce the necessary 
sanctions. Thus the war in Korea started on an international 
basis. 

From the beginning I attached much greater importance to 
Truman’s action in respect of Taiwan than to the United Nations 
intervention in Korea, because essentially it seemed to me that the 
United States had willy-niUy as a result of the Korean incident 
stepped directly into the Chinese civil war, which had effectively 
ended with the flight of the Kuomintang forces from the mainland. 
U.N. intervention in Korea caused no particular reaction in 
China: in fact during the first three months of the Korean war 
there was hardly any noticeable military activity in China. But 
the intervention in Taiwan was considered to be a direct threat, 
though even in this matter the Chinese behaved with exemplary 
patience and restraint. For many days after the Korean war started, 
there was nothing in the atmosphere of Peking to give anyone the 
impression that anything xmusual had happened. While the 
United States and generally the western nations were behaving as 
if the heavens were falling there was absolute calm in Peking — 
a very strange and unnatural situation. 

July the 1st was the twenty-ninth anniversary of the communist 
party of China. It was being celebrated with the usual display of 
flags and aU the paraphernalia of party enthusiasm. It was on that 
day that India made the first move in Peking which was to take us 
along the hard road of peace-makers, sending us finally to Korea 
to guard the prisoners of war and to sponsor the explanations. I 
called at the Foreign Office and had a long talk with Chang Han- 
fu, the Vice Foreign Minister. I impressed on him the necessity 
of locahzing the Korean conflict and put forward tentatively 
the suggestion that the-question could probably be solved by refer- 
ring it to the Security Council, with China taking her legitimate 
place, and consequently the Soviets giving up their boycott and 
returning to their vacant seat. I did not mention to him that 
Prime Minister Nehru had aheady moved Bevin in this con- 
nection, Chang Han-fu seemed to receive the suggestion very 



. IN TWO CHINAS 

sympathetically and promised to let me know his Government’s 
reaction soon. 

In the meantime a touch of comedy was added to the situation. 
Chiang Kai-shek came forward with an offer of 25,000 troops to 
fight in Korea, as in spite of AlacArthur s heroic gestures with his 
force and the brutal bombardments of Korean coastal towns by 
the ships of the two greatest naval powers, the northern forces were 
advancing steadily. But Chiang’s offer was politely declined on 
the ground that the troops might be required for the defence of 
Formosa itself. 

On the loth ofjtdy the Chinese Government officially replied to 
my representation expressing appreciation of the line that India 
had taken and conveying general agreement with our proposals. 
My first reaction was that perhaps a way had been found for 
settling the problem before it became too serious; but on second 
thoughts I realized that the proposal of seating Peking in the 
Security Coundl, however legitimate, reasonable, and logical, 
would be resisted by the Americans since it would involve an 
immense loss of face to them. It was also obvious that in the 
face of definite American opposition Bevin would not be able to 
act. StiU there was a chance, and on receiving the Chinese reactions, 
Mr. Nehru formally put forward these proposals to Stalin and 
Acheson. 

Stalin rephed immediately, accepting the proposal on "the 
indispensable condition” of the Peking Government being given 
its seat on the Security Council. That die Russians did not expect 
anything to come out of this was dear from the fact that Toss 
pubhshed the correspondence before Acheson had a chance to 
reply. Acheson of course turned down the proposal on the ground 
that the question of Peking’s membership of the Security Council 
was unrelated to the Korean issue! 

It is of course impossible to write in any detail about the diplo- 
matic activities connected with the Korean war as they are still in 
the reahn'of state secrets, and considerable time must elapse before 
the telegrams and despatches connected with this important 

chapter of history could be published. 

By the middle of July the Chinese attitude towards the Korean 



KOREA 


105 


war began to show a change. There was evidence of a planned 
campaign to bring home to the pubhc what the communists 
considered to be the character of American intervention in Asia. 
Cartoons, paintings on the wall, articles in newspapers were all 
now directed against “the aggressive American forces in Korea.” 
The American campaign to secure international support for their 
action in Asia was also the subject of much sarcastic comment. 
The anti-chmax of this American campaign came, much to the 
amusement of the Chinese, with the announcements of Romulo 
and Pibul Songgram offering the services of their armed forces. 
Brigadier Romulo was sorry that he could not spare any regular 
forces, but was wiUing to permit recruitment of volimteers, no 
doubt at American rates of pay. Pibul Songgram, as he is a marshal, 
went one step further and oSered 5,000 Siamese troops. With 
Siam and the PhiUppines actively co-operating, America was able 
to claim that the free nations of Asia were behind her, even if 
India, Pakistan, Burma, and Indonesia gave no support. 

One thing which impressed me greatly during these months 
was the moderation and restraint of the Chinese. While it was 
true that their propaganda against the Americans was bitter in 
tone, there was no attempt to work up a feeling of chauvinism. 
There were, however, constant allusions to the immediate necessity 
of “hberating” Taiwan and Tibet. The last was naturally causing 
me concern. On the 22nd of August Chou En-lai sent for me, for a 
general discussion, and I took the opportunity of pressing home 
the desirability of restraint and moderation in regard to Taiwan, 
especially when the whole world was inclined to view their case 
with favour, in regard to Tibet, I knew they were a httle 
uncertain about our attitude. I expressed the hope that they would 
follow a pohcy of peace in regard to Tibet. Chou En-lai rephed 
that while the Hberation of Tibet was a “sacred duty,” his Govern- 
ment were anxious to secure their ends by negotiations and not by 
military action. He said that he had heard that the Nepal Govern- 
ment had offered to send troops to help the Tibetans and wondered 
if it was true ! That was the state of Chinese knowledge about 
the conditions on the Himalayan border. 

My main activity at this time was concentrated on emphasizing 



IN TWO CHINAS 

to the Indian^ Govemmentr that it should get the situation in 
respect of Taiwan clarified, for I was afraid that the Chinese 
might be led into some rash action to “liberate” that island. This 
would bring them into direct conflict mth America. Some con- 
versations with the Polish Ambassador had given me an indication 
drat the Chinese were actively engaged in preparing for an 
invasion. I had also heard that the famous general Chen Yi had 
taken up his headquarters in Amoy where he was building up an 
air force and concentrating his strength on the Fukien coast. 
What I felt was that if the Chinese were rash enough to attempt an 
invasion a major conflict with America could not be avoided. The 
essential thing therefore appeared to be to allay Chinese fears 
, about the nature of American actions in respect of Taiwan. The 
pressure that Prime Minister Nehru was able to exercise directly 
and through Whitehall had the desired eflect. During the last 
week of August, the American Government issued no less than . 
five statements on Taiwan, the last of which practically said that 
once the 'Korean issue was settled, America would withdraw her 
protecting hands from Taiwan. Acheson followed this up with a 
statement that America had no aggressive intentions against the 
mainland of China. The situation seemed to ease a little. 

On the 2nd of September Chou En-lai came to dine with me 
privately. He brought his wife with him, an exceptional act of 
courtesy, as Madame Chou doesnotkeepgoodhealthand generally^ 
does not go out for parties. I had also asked my fnend Mynt 
Thein, the Burmese Ambassador, with whom I had worked 
closely in Nanking. The dinner went off extremely well, Mynt 
Thein keeping the whole party roaring with laughter "with his 
stories. Chou En-lai, unaccustomed I presume to this kind of 
diplomatic dinner, relaxed completely and kept on saying in 
Eng lish that it was a “homely party.” The conversation at the 
table was witty and amusing, if not brilliant, mainly through the 
irrepressible good humour of the Burmese Ambassador and the 
cordial expansiveness of Chou En-lai himself. 

After the dinner Chou En-lai, the Burmese Ambassador and 
myself sat apart and the conversation became serious. As the host I 
did not want to take the initiative in discussing political matters. 



KOKEA 


107 


So the ice was broken by the Burmese Ambassador. The conversa- 
tion was mainly about China’s relations with .the outside world 
and we both emphasized that their present policies had only tended 
to isolate China from neutral opinion. I said: “It may be that you 
think that there is no neutral opinion: in my view there is not only 
, a neutral opinion but considerable pro-Chinese feeling in countries 
like India and Burma, and even in England where many inhuential 
groups are anxious to understand the Chinese point of view. 
Actually, China has enforced a blockade against herself so far as 
the non-communist world is concerned.” The Burmese Ambassa- 
dor suggested that they should send good-will missions to the 
South Asian countries and find out for themselves — a suggestion 
which impressed Chou En-lai and was in principle accepted by 
him with enthusiasm. 

Mynt Thein saw that he had scored a point and we thought that 
the time was appropriate to press for a modification of the violent 
propaganda against America which was then going on in China. 
Mynt Them’s line was that China had aheady scored a notable 
victory by getting the Security Council to hear her case against 
American aggression in Taiwan and over the air space of Man- 
churia and now it was in China’s interest to cultivate world 
opinion by the moderation of her point of view. By nature Chou 
En-lai is a reasonable man. He is also a most persuasive talker. Our 
talks went on till half-past eleven and on the whole both parties 
had reason to be satisfied. 

The situation in Korea changed all of a sudden by the American 
landings at Inchon. There were great rejoicings in the western 
camp in China, and if the Chinese on their part were bitterly dis- 
appointed they showed no signs of it. When the northern lines 
began to be rolled up and the Americans and their allies were 
shouting of victory, my thoughts were all on Taiwan, for I felt 
that if the Americans were able to carry everything before them in 
Korea they might be tempted to encourage Chiang to attack the 
mainland and thus precipitate a world war. The situation seemed 
altogether confused. There were rumours of large-scale troop 
movements from the Peking area to the north, and a western 
Military Attache told me that he had information that a continuous 



IN TWO CHINAS 

Stream of ttoop trains was passing Tientsin. It was when things 
were in this state of uncertainty that General Nieh Yen-jung, the 
acting Chief of Staff who was also the Mihtary Governor of 
Peking, with the moffensive title of mayor, came to dine with me 
on the 25th of September. General Nieh, with his round face and 
shaven head, gives one the impression of a Prussian officer. But he 
is a pleasant-spoken man, friendly and ready to discuss matters 
with an air of frankness. After the dinner the conversation turned 
to Korea. General Nieh told me in a quiet and imexcited mann er 
that the Chinese did not intend to sit back with folded hands and 
let the Americans come up to their border. This was the &st 
indication I had that the Chhiese proposed' to intervene in the war. 
I was taken aback a httle by this statement, all the more impressive 
because it was said in a quiet and pleasant tone, as if he were 
telling me that he intended to go shooting the next day. I ashed 
him whether he realized in full the implications of such an action. 
He rephed: “We know what we are in for, but at all costs Ameri- 
can aggression has to be stopped. The Americans can bomb us, 
they can destroy onr industries, but they cannot defeat us on land.” 

I tried to impress on him how destructive a war with America 
^ould be; how the Americans would be able to destroy systemati- 
cally all the industries of Manchuria and put China back by half a 
century, how China’s coastal towns would be exposed to bom- 
bardment and how even the interior could be bombed. He only 
laughed. “We have calculated all that,” he said. “They may even 
drop atom bombs on us. What then ? They may kill a few miHipn 
people. Without sacrifice a nation’s independence cannot be 
upheld.” He gave some calculations of the effectiveness of atom 
bombs and said; “After all, China fives on the farms. What can 
atom bombs do there ? Yes, our economic development will be 
put back. We may have to wait for it.” 

This conversation left me very depressed. The next morning I 
had some news which added greatly to that depression. After the 
general had left my house, my first secretary A. K. Sen had stayed 
for a time with me to enable us to compare notes. He left at about 
a quarter-past eleven but foxmd that a curfew had been clamped on 
Peking and all traffic had been stopped. He was, however, escorted 



KOREA 


109 

by a security officer to the Legation street but could not get back 
to his hotel; He was nevertheless able to see troop formations and 
trucks moving towards the railway station. Perhaps this was part 
of the general troop movements towards the Manchurian border. 

The 1st of October celebrations passed off quietly. They started 
off with a reception by Mao Tse-tung where for the first and last 
time I saw Madame Mao. She stood at the head of the receiving 
Ihie, a pretty, youngish woman of about forty, dressed elegantly 
but in no way different from the rest. With her stood Chou En-lai 
and his wife, while the Chairman and the Vice-Chairmen, includ- 
ing Madame Sun Yat-sen, were inside the haHand received us there. 
The reception was a quiet one and there were no speeches. The 
parade in the Red Square in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace 
the next day was of course a grand afiair, a display of the mihtary 
might of New China. The fimction was interminably long, 
though it was picturesque and highly impressive. We had all 
expected to hear a definite declaration of poHcy but on that 
matter we were disappointed. Not for long however. 

At midnight on the 2 nd of October, after I had been asleep for 
an hour and a half, I was awakened by my steward with the news 
that Chen Chia-kang the Director of the Asian Affairs of the 
Foreign Ministry, was waiting for me m the drawing-room. I 
hastily put on my dressing-gown and went downstairs, not know- 
ing what it could be which had brought so important an officer at 
midnight to my house. Chen was very apologetic about the late- 
ness of the hour but added that the matter was most important and 
that the Prime Minister desired to see me immediately at his 
residence. I said I would be ready to accompany him in ten 
minutes and went upstairs to dress. When my wife heard that I 
was going out in the company of a Foreign Office official at that 
unusual time she was lincertain whether she was awake and wit- 
nessing my arrest and deportation or seeing a nightmare. It took 
me some time to persuade her that it was not usual to kidnap 
ambassadors and in my case she need not lose even a wink of sleep 
for fear that the Chinese would do any personal harm to me. 

We left my house at twenty minutes past midnight. The streets 
were practically deserted and the clear October air in Peking added 



IN TWO CHINAS 

serenity to the silence of the night. Though I had guessed from the 
beginning that the reason for this sudden call was something 
connected with Korea, I was bursting with impatience to know 
what the matter actually was. Was it that Chou En-lai had firesh 
proposals that he desired to be communicated to Nehru ? Was it to 
let me know that war had aheady started ? Anyway I decided to 
wait and not to try and get an inkling from Chen. So we conversed 
about the magni£cence of the celebrations of the previous day 
and the order and discipline which marked the proceedings. At 
12.30 1 was with Premier Chou En-lai at his official residence. 

Though the occasion was the most serious I could imagine, a 
midnight interview on questions afiecting the peace of the world, 
Chou En-lai was as courteous and charming as ever and did not 
give the least impression of worry or nervousness or indeed of 
being in any particular hurry. He had the usual tea served and the 
first two rninutes were spent in normal courtesies, apology for 
disturbing me at an unusual hour, etc. Then he came to the point. 
He thanked Pandit Nehru for what he had been doing in the cause 
of peace, and said no country’s need for peace was greater than 
that of China, but there were occasions when peace could only be 
defended by determination to resist aggression. If the Americans 
crossed the 38th paralHel China would be forced to intervene in 
Korea. Otherwise he was most anxious for a peaceful settlement, 
and generally accepted Pandit Nehru’s approach to the question. 
I asked him whether he had already news of the Americans having 
crossed the borders. He rephed in the affirmative but added that 
he did not know where they had crossed. I asked him whether 
China intended to intervene, if only the South Koreans crossed 
the parallel. He was emphatic: “The South Koreans did not 
matter but American intrusion into North Korea would encounter 
Chinese resistance.” 

I returned home at 1.30 where my first secretary and cypher 
assistant were waiting. A telegram conveying the gist of the con- 
versation with my own appreciation of the situation went the 
same night to New Delhi. I was fhlly satisfied that as Chou En-la 
had claimed that the Americans had crossed, the parallel, ffie 
Chinese troops which had been concentrated in Manchuria a 



KOREA 


III 


ako moved across the Yalu into North Korean territory. In the 
morning I contacted Hutchison, the British Minister, and told him 
briefly how matters stood. The Burmese Ambassador, who called 
later, was ako kept informed and he ako agreed to inform 
Thakin Nu immediately. 

Nothing very much happened during the following two days. 
There was no definite information that the Americans had crossed 
the parallel. ButtheU.N. withhistorical insouciance was discussing 
a resolution to authorize MacArthur to cross the parallel and 
bring about the unification of Korea. On the 8th of October at 
eight o’clock m the evening I heard on the radio that the United 
Nations had formally approved the resolution in the full know- 
ledge (which had been communicated to the State Department) 
that the Chinese would intervene in force. 

I noted in my diary as follows : 

“So, America has knowingly elected for war, with Britain 
following. It is indeed a tragic decision, for the Americans and 
the British are well aware that a military settlement of the 
Korean issue will be resisted by the Chinese and that the armies 
now concentrated on the Yalu border will intervene decisively 
in the fight. Probably that is what the Americans, at least some 
of them, want. They probably feel that this is the opportunity 
to have a showdown with China. In any case MacArthur ’s 
dream has come true. I only hope it does not turn out to be a 
nightmare. . . . Also I fear the. Americans do not realize that 
they are fighting an armed revolution not only in China but all 
over Asia, in Indo-China, in Malaya, and in a lesser degree even 
in the Philippines, and the commission for the unification and 
rehabilitation of Korea which they have appointed, consisting 
among others of the Philippines, Siam, and Turkey, will never be 
able to do anything till the Chinese have been defeated.” 

On the ninth evening the Prime Minister transmitted to me a 
message from Ernest Bevin to be communicated personally to 
Chou En-lai. It was friendly in tone and contained vague assur- 
ances, including a promise that the Korean Commission would 
give the Chinese views their most careful consideration. Consider- 
ing that the Commission consisted of countries like the Philippines 



- . IN TWO CHINAS 

and Siam, this promise looked to me like adding insult to injury. 
In any case Bevin’s approach was too late, for the Chinese armies 
were already in Korea. Also the Chinese reacted most violently to 
the U.N, Resolution which a Foreign Office spokesman declared 
to be illegal. 

By the middle of the month, there was no evidence that the 
Chinese had intervened. The Americans had occupied the 
northern capital of Pyongyang and were arranging to take over 
the entire territory. The Chinese soldiers had not been seen any- 
where, and both in India and in America there was a measure of 
angry criticism directed against me personally. The American 
papers, even the most balanced ones like, the Neti/ York Herald 
Tribune, began to say that I had been fooled and that Nehru was 
taken-in by me. In India, a few pro-American papers echoed the 
criticism and there was even some demand that I should be 
recalled. MacArthur was hoping to conclude the campaign in 
triumph and had told the boys that they could go home, by 
Christmas. I knew that the Chinese had intervened, but as there 
was no evidence of their fighting, my knowledge was of no 
importance. In the Indian Foreign Office also scepticism prevailed 
among the top officials. The Prime Minister alone was unmoved 
by all this agitation. 

To add to my troubles, by the middle of the month, rumours of 
a Chinese invasion of Tibet began to circulate. Visits and re- 
presentations to the Foreign Office brought no results. The Wai 
Chiaopu officials were pohte but sdent. Things were certainly 
moving on that side. The only information I was able to wring 
out of them was that certain pacificatory measures were being 
taken in West Sikang, that is on the borders of Tibet proper. In 
India, mainly as a result of messages from American and Hong 
Kong correspondents, pubhc opinion was already excited. On the 
25th of October, however, the Chinese announced on the Peking 
Radio that the process of “Liberating Tibet” had begun. The fit 
was in the fire. The Government of India was troubled about the 
Chinese action on the Tibetan borders and I received instructions 
to.lodge a strong protest. The Chinese reply was' equally strong. 
It practically accused India of having been influenced by e 



KOREA 


II3 

imperialists, and claimed that China had not taken any military 
action but was determined to hberate Tibet by peaceful 
means. Our rejoinder, though couched in equally strong words, 
recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet and disclaimed all 
desire to intervene in its affairs, and emphasized once again our 
deshe that the issue between the Tibetans and the Chinese should 
be decided peacefully and not by the use of force. Both parties 
had made their point of view clear and were content to let it rest 
there. 

I had expected a virulent campaign against India in the Press. 
But for some reason the Chinese, apart from publishing the 
correspondence, soft-pedalled the whole affair. The controversy 
was seldom mentioned in the Press. But on our side matters were 
not so easy. The Indian Press, egged on by the sensational reports 
of the American correspondents and the blood-curdling stories 
issued from Hong Kong by Taipeh agents, kept on talking about 
Chinese aggression. Even Sardar Patel, the Deputy Prime Minister, 
felt called upon to make an unfriendly speech. There was also 
some support in the External Affairs Ministry for the view that 
India should act vigorously to protect Tibet. In the meantime, 
Ecuador which was then a member of the Security Coundl, 
threatened to bring up the Tibetan question before the United 
Nations. 'Knowing the temper of the Indian pubHc and the 
attitude of some of the officials I was nervous that the Govern- 
ment might take some hasty step. My own prestige with the 
Government was at a low ebb and I was being attacked for having 
misled the Prime Minister about Chinese intervention in Korea. 
But the Prime Minister was not so easily moved. He kept calm 
and allowed the pubhc feeling to die down. In the meantime 
massive Chinese intervention in Korea had changed the entire 
situation. 

At the beginning of November, driving out one day from my 
house, I saw a proclamation in red pasted everywhere on the walls 
in the usual Chinese way. It was being avidly read by passers-by 
including men in uniform. I returned home and sent out a servant 
to find out what it was about. It was a general appeal by all the 
parties to the Government Coalition emphasizing the necessity “to 

H 



IN TWO CHINAS 

aid Korea, resist America, defend the fatherland, protect the 
home. For the next few days pubhc agitation against America 
was worked up to an tmprecedented pitch. Everywhere, the walls 
were plastered with cartoons of Americans. It was a frightening 
display of bitterness and anger, and a dehberate effort to work up 
feelings and emotions against the Americans. A history of the 
American attitude towards, China in the last century even pictured 
the Americans as inviting the Japanese to invade Manchuria. The 
volunteer army was publicly acclaimed as fighting for peace in 
Korea and for safe-guarding the Chinese Revolution. 

Anyway, the intervention of China which upset the American 
plans and discredited the bellicose MacArthur came in time to 
re-estabhsh my credit. The Prime Minister alone had stood by me 
and ’beheved that the Chinese were not bluffing. The Tibetan 
question had also setded itself, for the Chinese after the first 
mihtary display were content to keep their armies on the frontier 
and await the arrival of the Tibetan delegation for a settlement by 
_ negotiations. With the atmosphere thus cleared, I was in a position 
to take a Httle more active interest in the Korean affairs. 

Realizing the importance of the Peking mission the Govern- 
ment sent T. N. Kaul, an experienced officer as counsellor. He 
reached Peking by the middle of November. He was in many 
ways an exceptional man. Though an I.C.S. officer of some 
seniority, he had as a result of his stay in Moscow and Washington 
shed the prejudices of “the heaven-bom service” and had de- 
veloped a genuinely progressive mind capable of appreciating the 
new forces in the world. He spoke Russian fairly fluently, and two 
years as first secretary in our embassy in Washington had given 
him an understanding of American psychology. ' He was a 
capable negotiator, fiiendly, firm, and shrewd. He had also a 
happy knack of maintaining contacts with different groups and at 
all levels. I was very happy to have him, especially because I was 
able to develop an informal fine of contact with the Wai Chiaopu 
and with the Soviet Hoc. 

The situation in Korea in the meantime was rapidly deteriorat- 
ing. The British Government was very unhappy, and Bevin wed 
to Hutchison a message to be conveyed to Chou En-lai or failing 



KOEEA 


II5 

him to the highest accessible ofiScial. It "was a strange communica- 
tion, an elucidation of the objectives of the United Nations in 
Korea, an assurance from Britain that Chinese boundaries would 
be respected. There was a vague suggestion that there should be 
discussion with Chinese representatives at Lake Success. The 
Prime Minister •wired to me to give full support to this representa- 
tion, and when Hutchison discussed the matter with me I frankly 
told him that I doubted whether the Chinese would look at any 
proposal which did not include an offer of direct negotiations of 
the whole issue "with them; and that I considered that the idea of 
Britain assuring China of the inviolabihty of her boundaries was 
patronizing, to say the least. The Chinese, who claimed to be 
able to ensure the inviolability of their own frontiers, would, I felt 
sure, consider the offer insulting as putting them in a category 
with the Philippines or Siam. I saw Chang Han-fu two days later 
and had an hour’s talk with him. I strongly supported Bevin’s 
proposal as ofiering an opening which the Chinese should take 
advantage of: the offer to discuss matters and the recognition of 
China’s interest in Korea were two distinct gains. Though I put 
the arguments strongly I could not have soimded very convincing 
for the simple reason that I was not convinced myself. 

Chang Han-fu was not greatly impressed by Bevin’s proposals 
especially as they made no mention of Taiwan. To the Chinese, 
American action against Taiwan was no less important than the 
situation in Korea, though the western world was inclined to over- 
look the former as an embarrassing and inconvenient fact. The 
strange British idea of a neutralized zone, meaning thereby the 
annexation of the rest of Korea by Syngman Rhee, was naturally 
brushed aside as irrelevant by the Chinese. 

Britain’s approach to the Chinese issue suffered from a pre- 
liminary handicap. She could not bring herself to deal with China 
as an eqiual power. She was prepared to guarantee Chinese 
interests in Korea, to see that the so-called U.N. Committee on 
the unification of Korea took note of China’s legitimate rights, 
etc., but she could not quite accept the idea that China should 
have at least as much voice as Britain and America in the settle- 
ment of issues in the Far East. AH British proposals meant no more 



IN TWO CHINAS 

than that the Chinese should withdraw from Korea on British 
assurances and that America should be free to unify Korea under 
the cover of U.N. action. 

The stiffiiess which had entered into our relations with China as 
a result of the Tibetan controversy had by this time totally dis- 
appeared. Slowly the relations began to improve. The Wai 
Chiaopu gave a dinner to Sen, my first secretary, who was going 
to Shanghai as Consul-General. At this the old theme of Sino- 
Indian friendship was again the subject of many toasts. To Kaul 
also they had been very friendly. Sen was among other things an 
excellent performer on an unusually sensitive instrument called 
Sarod and on the day before he left I persuaded him to give a 
private performance in my house. The Wai Chiaopu as usual 
selected the official Chinese guests. The Hst was fully representa- 
tive of the cultural life of New China and included, besides Shen 
Ying-ping — the Minister of Culture — Chang Han-fu and his wife, 
Wang Ping-nan, Wang Jo-ju, the Director of the Central Musical 
•Academy, Ma Tse-chung, Lu Chi, the composer, Madame Kuan, 
the famous soprano, Hung Tsien, the dramatist and writer and my 
old friends Hsu Pei-meng, the painter, and his wife. About half 
of the Chinese guests were non-communists. I showed some films 
relating to classical Indian dancing and this was followed by Sen s 
performance on the Sarod. The party went off in a most cordial 
and happy atmosphere, but I could not help feeling that it was 
strange that such a peace should reign in Peking when the whole 
world seemed to be frightened of developments in Korea. 

It was the next morning (the ist of December) that Truman 
annovmced that he was thinking of using the atom bomb in 
Korea. But the Chinese seemed totally unmoved by this threat. 
Du ring the weeks that followed there were increased construc- 
tional activities along the city walls of Peking, widely believed 
to be preparations for undergrormd cells against bombs of all 
kinds. Also, the propaganda against American aggression was 
stepped up. The “Aid Korea to resist America” campaign was 
made the slogan for increased production, greater national inte- 
gration, and more rigid control over anti-national activities. One 
could not help feeling that Truman’s threat came in very useful to 



EOREJ 


117 

the leaders of the revolution to enable theni to keep up the tempo 
of their activities. 

About this time I began to notice a change in the attitude of the 
■westerners in Peking. In the early stages of the war, there was 
among them a great deal of suppressed satisfaction that China was 
now going to be taught a lesson. Over their interminable cock- 
tails they bewailed the d-isappearance of the China they knew and 
kept on hoping that a whiff of American bullets when America 
got down to it would dispose of the Chinese armies like chaff. 
The Mihtary Attache belonging to the old school had solemnly 
assured me before the American debacle that the Chinese troops 
could not stand up to the Americans as their training was in- 
adequate. The American defeat therefore came as a shock to them, 
and when Truman announced that he was thinking of dropping 
the atom bomb — ^most of them began smiling again. It was in this 
atmosphere that the West decided to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day 
•with all its accustomed gaiety. They stiU had the feeling that they 
were li-ving in a European colony. I had gone in for a few minutes 
as Hutchison had pressed me, but the colonial atmosphere de- 
pressed me and I left early. 

When the extent of American defeat became kno-wn I became 
very worried. My fear was that though the Americans might be 
dissuaded from dropping atom bombs, they might in desperation 
attack Manchuria and thereby extend the war. I was aware of the 
gro'wing strength of China in the air; and the Chinese were 
certain that if Manchuria were attacked the So'viets would inter- 
vene. So with the authority of the Prime Minister, I approached 
the Chinese Government again (on the 8th of December) vtith the 
request that they should make a declaration that their forces 
would not move beyond the 38th parallel; that they would not 
move into South Korea. The line I took was that such a declaration 
would help to mobilke neutral opinion in China’s favour and that 
they stood to lose nothing, as unless America agreed to respect 
that line China would also not be bound by her declaration. I also 
tried hard to prove to Chang Han-fu that it was fooUsh to think 
that a military decision was possible, for though the Americans 
might be forced back they could hold selected points on the coast 



IN TWO CHINAS 

as long as they had naval and air superiority. So the settlement had 
to be by negotiation, and now, as China had aheady shown her 
military strength, would it not be better, I argued, to offer to 
negotiate. 

The toteen (Asian-Arab) nations’ appeal seemed to me to give 
an opening to the Chinese. At my suggestion Kaul saw Chen 
Chia-kang. Chen’s reactions were interesting. He asked Kaul why 
the Phihppines who were fighting in Korea had joined the thirteen 
nations. This was indeed strange, but it struck me as being even 
rhore strange when I heard Romulo denouncing Chinese aggres- 
sion in Korea over the radio. Romulo, I then suspected, was 
probably preparing the ground for some new American action. In 
that case the Asian-Arab group, by keeping him with them, were 
only weakening their own position. 

On the iith of December ChouEn-lai sent for me. We had an 
hour’s conversation. The refrain of his talk was: “What do the 
Americans want ; Do they want peace as we do, or are they going 
to persist in aggression ? The Attlee-Truman communique clearly 
shows that what they want is war not peace.” I repHed that 
Government poHcies should not be judged from communiques 
but I was sure that Britain at least wanted peace and a Chinese 
declaration about the 38th parallel would help Britain and others 
who were trying to restrain the U.S.A. Chou En-lai rephed, “So 
far as the 3 8th parallel is concerned, it is we, China and India, who 
wanted to uphold it. But MacArthur has demoHshed it and it 
exists no longer.” I was altogether depressed after the interview 
for it was clear to me that the Chinese would not stop at the 38th 
parallel and the alHes of America would be forced to trail behind 
in any action the U.S. proposed. 

This sense of depression was increased by the news fiom 
America that Truman had declared a national emergency in the 
United States. All the talk was of mobihzation, preparedness, etc., 
perhaps only to counteract the effect of defeat in Korea. Naturally 
it did not help the cause of peace. But all this shouting made no 
impression on 'the Chinese. They seemed to enjoy the reactions 
they were making on the Americans. I noted as follows in my 

diary: 



KOREA 


IIP 


“The strange thing is that neither the Soviets nor the Chinese 
have taken any public notice of these panicky actions. They go 
about their business as if nothing exceptional has happened and 
this lack of reaction is even more frightening than if they had 
blustered and threatened. The secrecy of the communist world 
gives you an uncanny feeling. Here in Peking there is an unnatural 

cahn which is more deadly than all the shouting in America It 

has been annormced in Washington that aeroplane production 
will be increased four and a half times and that 17,000 rmUion 
dollars are to be spent this year on defence. No doubt it gives the 
ordinary American a feeling of satisfaction that everything money 
can do is being done to liquidate the communist menace. But the 
difficulty is that we do not know whether all this frightens the 
communists. Certainly it does not frighten the Chinese. The 
increase in the number of planes and in the weight of bombs 
seems to leave them cold, perhaps because they know that 
they have but few industries to be destroyed and equally 
they know that the bombs the Americans may make for a 
hundred years will not be sufficient to destroy the manpower of 
China.” 

The Arab-Asian group, which was ceaselessly active in the 
United Nations, had proposed two resolutions, the first for setting 
up a committee to negotiate a cease-fire and the second suggesting 
a conference for a peaceful settlement of the Far-Eastern issues. 
The proposal for the cease-fire as it stood was not altogether 
acceptable to the Americans. To the Chinese it appealed even less. 
Even so the Peking Government’s reply went much farther than 
it need have. Chou En-lai not only refused to discuss anything 
with the committee but asserted that China did not accept as legal 
any resolution by the U.N. affecting her as long as she was not a 
party to the decision. After thus speaking for the record, Chou 
went on to state his terms: withdrawal from Taiwan, China’s 
admission to U.N., withdrawal of all foreign troops from Korea, 
etc. Regarding the second proposal (for a Far-Eastern Conference) 
Chang Han-fu told me when I saw him (on Christmas Day) that 
the Chinese insisted on a prior acceptance in principle of their 
claim to Taiwan and for their seat in the U.N. 



120 


IN TWO CHINAS 

The commission of three, consisting of Ran, Lester Pearson, 
and Entezam, the Iranian President of the Assembly, put forw^ari 
some new proposals, not very different from what had originally 
been proposed, except an acceptance in principle that all foreign 
troops should withdraw. These were sent on to me to be conveyed 
to the Chinese Government. My difficulty, which Mr. Nehru 
fully understood but Rau sitting in New York did not realize, was 
that I had no answer to the first question the Chinese were bound 
to ask: Have the proposals been approved by the American 
Government? In fact, while encouraging Rau and others to put 
forward proposals intended to draw out the Chinese, the Ameri- 
cans had all along refused to commit themselves. In the proposals 
which Rau had wired to me there was no mention of Taiwan, no 
proposals regarding the Korean setdement though the commis- 
sion for this purpose, led by the Pakistanis, the Plulippinos, and 
the Thailanders, was still in existence. The new proposals were to 
be incorporated in a report which was to be submitted by the 
committee to .the U.N. and as such I asked the Chinese for no 
commitment but only for their reactions. Chang Han-fu s reply 
was simple. He asked whether they also represented the Govern- 
ment of India’s own point of view. I had to parry that question by 
saying that the Government of India did not desire to formulate 
their views on these proposals without giving consideration to the 
Chinese reactions, and there the matter ended. 

But things were moving fast. A day later I heard on the radio 
that the State Department had addressed all friendly States 
emphasizing the need to declare China an aggressor. The American 
note, it was reported, included also proposals that an economic 
blockade of China should be enforced, and that States which 
maintained diplomatic relations should "withdraw their representa- 
tives. The reaction of those proposals on China was one more of 
amusement than of anger. China was not worried about being 
called an aggressor by the United States and her friends. So far as 
a blockade was concerned, the United States was already blockad- 
ing her and the Chinese were satisfied that a publicly-declared 
blockade would help them to whip up enthusiasm for production 
and enable them to develop a blockade - economy, ss t 



KOREA 


121 


communists had previously done in Yenan. And as for the 
breaking-off of diplomatic relations, the Chinese knew well that 
none of the Asian countries would accept the American lead in the 
matter. So they looked upon these proposals as another evidence 
of American hysteria. 

It was fortunate that the Commonwealth Premiers’ conference 
was then meeting in London. The American proposals were 
unlikely to be viewed sympathetically there. Actually on the 12th 
of January, 195 1 , 1 received a telegram from Prime Minister Nehru 
sent from London suggesting a new conference on Korea without 
anything tacked to it like the old suggestion of de-nulitarized 
zones. As it happened, when the telegram arrived, we were dining 
at" Kaul’s house with Chiao Kan-hua, the Vice-Chairman of the 
Policy Committee of the Foreign Office, and Chen Chia-kang, the 
Director of Asian Affairs. Their reaction seemed favourable and 
it appeared to me that on those lines we could get a move forward. 
Unfortunately the optimism of the previous night cooled down 
during the day when the radio announced that the original 
Commonwealth proposals had been modified by the inclusion of 
the provision for a cease-fire prior to the negotiations. I was able 
to meet Chang Han-fii the same evening at a private dinner given 
by Shen Ying-ping, the iVlinister of Culture. He explained to me 
that the original proposals might have provided a basis, but the 
insistence on a prior cease-fire was an insuperable difficulty. 
I strongly advised Chang Han-fii not to reject the proposals 
on that ground but to accept what was suitable and either 
ask for modifications or make counter proposals in regard to 
others. 

On the 15th I saw Chang Han-fu officially and gave him the 
substance of the Prime Minister’s telegram conveying the Com- 
monwealth Prime Ministers’ views. I had made an analysis of the 
proposal and stated in a tabular form the differences between the 
previous proposals and the present one, with the object of con- 
vincing the Chinese how their interests had been safeguarded. 
My final stand was: If you are not satisfied with my elucidations 
why not ask the pohtical committee for elucidation or, better 
still, proceed on the assumption that your interpretation is correct 



122 


IN TWO CHINAS 

and leave it to the other party either to reject or to explain the 
matter further. • ^ 

I was taking a very consideraible risk in interpreting the text on 
my own and offering elucidations which no one had authorized 
me to do. Directly and through Elaul I had been r aining unofficial 
memoranda and notes on the Wai Chiaopu, because apart ffom 
my desire to get the proposals through on their merits, I realized 
that Pandit Nehru’s authority and prestige were committed at 
least to a modified acceptance of these proposals. So interpreting 
his mind to the best of my abihty, but without any express 
directions from him, I did not hesitate to tell the Chinese that the 
explanations I was giving were in conformity with the Prime 
Minister’s own views. In view of the urgency of the question 
and the difficulty of getting instructions firom Ndnru who was 
spending the week-end at Chequers I had no other option. 

But I confess I was greatly reHeved when on the i6th ofjanuary 
I received from Pandit Nehru a detailed appraisal of the situation 
which in many places agreed word for word with the analysis 
which I had on my own passed on to the Chinese. I felt that my 
hands had been greatly strengthened and iimnediately sent Kaul 
to Chen with instructions to read out relevant extracts to him, 
Kaul, whose personal relations with the Director were excellent, 
spent an hour with him and came back firmly convinced that 
there would be no rejection of the proposals. I was, however, not 
satisfied with this. Early next morning I sent with Kaul unofficially 
to Chen Chia-kang a paraphrased version of the Prime Minister’s 
telegram, for I knew the Cabinet was in session and I wanted the 
paper to reach Chou En-lai at the meeting before a decision was 
finally reached by him and his colleagues. At seven o clock in the 
evening I received an intimation that Chou En-lai would see me 
at nine o’clock. I cannot remember any occasion in my whole hfe 
when I was so excited. I knew that much depended on the nature 
of the Chinese reply. If China rejected the proposals the United 
States would undoubtedly be able to organize world opinion 
against her. If on the other hand the Chinese accepted the principle 
of settlement by negotiation and made alternative proposals the 
edge of the U.S.A.’s efforts to mobilize the world against China 


KOREA 


123 


would be blunted and peace would be saved. It was to this end the 
Prime Minister had worked and had secured the support of the 
Comnaonwcaltli Nations beliind the proposals. A rejection of the 
proposals would be a defeat for liim. 

Realizing the importance of the occasion I took Kaul with me 
and we arrived at the Wai Cliiaopu at nine o’clock punctually. 
Chou En-lai had not yet arrived at the office and we were received 
by Chen Chia-Lang. Though we were bursting to ask him what 
tlic decision was, my sense of diplomatic propriety was strong 
enough to overcome my curiosity and the conversation turned 
round the greatness of the Himalayas, the common moimtain 
range wliicli separated India and China. Chou En-lai entered the 
room at 9.15 accompanied by liis interpreter and Chaio Kan-hua. 
From the first moment it was clear that there was going to be no 
rejection. During the conversation which extended for over an 
hour he paid great tributes to Pandit Nehru and handsome 
compHments to myself, adding that he had studied with care and 
attention the numerous notes and memoranda I had sent to liim. 

Though the Chinese reply was a quahfied acceptance, with 
alternative proposals in respect of points which they did not 
accept, the Americans even before they had time to study it 
declared tliat it was “a contemptuous rejection” and immediately 
brought up proposals to brand Cliina as “an aggressor.” The 
reason for this strange action became clear later, when Ambassador 
Grosse frankly confessed before the Senate that America had 
accepted tire original proposals only because she thought that China 
would reject them. The fact tliat China did not reject them upset 
their plans and tliey had therefore to carry on as if the Chinese 
reply was a rejection. Nehru wired for some furtlier elucida- 
tion on points raised by St. Laurent and these were also supphed. 
St. Laurent had asked that the reply should reach him before 
Monday afternoon, and as the difference in time did not permit 
.me to use the normal channels I decided to send the Chinese reply 
eii clair to Rau at Lake Success with a request to hand it over to 
Lester Pearson. 

My arrangements worked to perfection. The telegram convey- 
ing the Chinese Government’s elucidations arrived just before the 



IN TWO CHINAS 

American resolution was to be put to the vote, and when Rau read 
my message it created a sensation. The American delegates were so 
upset that the only thing they could think of as an answer was 
to say that as these elucidations were given to India and not to the 
United Nations, no notice should be taken of them and the 
committee should go forward and vote as if nothing had happened. 
Such a line of action could have been only the result of confusion. 
The ac^oumment of forty-eight hours which was proposed by Rau 
in order to enable the delegations to study the elucidations was 
vehemently opposed by the Americans but it was carried by 
twenty-seven to twenty-three. I knew, however, that this was only 
a momentary victory: that the Americans would use the whip 
mercilessly and line up their friends to get China declared an 
aggressor. But the sting had gone firom the resolution. Even 
the people who voted for that resolution knew that they were 
only saving America’s face. This became clear when America 
proposed the additional measures resolution, which had to be 
watered down to such an extent that it became practic^y use- 
less. Even the “branding” resolution when it was passed had a 
rider attached to it, ho doubt to salve the British conscience, 
that no sanctions would be appHed till all avenues of peace had 
been explored. The United Nations also appointed a committee 
of three to keep in touch with the Chinese Government and to 
work to bring about peace. But the Chinese had made it amply 
clear that there would be no poHtical negotiations with the U.N. 
as long as the “illegal” resolution branding them as aggressors 
remained on the record. 

Thus ended the first major effort to bring about a settlement in 
Korea. Perhaps the time had not come; in any case the American 
Government was, in view of mounting hostility to China in the 
pubhc mind, imable at that time to accept any proposals for peace. 
They had not got over the unpleasant smprise of mihtary defeat 
and to have accepted a cease-fire then would have left the iinpres- 
sion that they were accepting terms under the weight of mihtery 
defeat. Another year had to pass before the matter could be taken 

up again. 


CHAPTER X 


LIFE IN PEKING. II 

O N the 26th of January, 1951, we celebrated the first anni- 
versary of the Indian Repubhe. I gave a dinner reception 
at the Peking Hotel and everyone was surprised when 
Mao Tsc-tung himself attended the function and proposed the 
main toast. For weeks foreign papers had been pubUshing news of 
Mao’s iUncss, asserting that he had been deposed by Liu Shao-chi. 
Many other canards of a similar character had found currency in 
foreign papers. The Hong Kong journals, wliich under Taipeh 
inspiration excelled in tliis kind of propaganda, had persuaded 
most western diplomatists that something was wrong with Mao 
Tse-tung. So when Mao arrived at any party, it created something 
of a sensation among them. But more was to come. Mao Tse-tung 
proposed tlic toast of India in a short speech. He began by saying 
“It is a great day. The Indian people are a fine people. There have 
been thousands of years of friendship between the people of India 
and Cliina.” It was a genuine, simple utterance pronounced 
slowly in short sentences, but it had a great effect on everyone who 
heard him. During our conversation at dinner Mao Tse-tung 
displayed much interest in the development of good relations 
with India. He spoke in warm terms about Nehru and said that he 
hoped to be able to see him soon in Cliina. He talked about the 
exchange of students and professors, about learning each other’s 
language, about his desire to see an Indian film depicting the life 
of the ordinary people. His conversation in fact left with me 
an impression of the deep human interest which Mao has in his 
fellow beings. 

My only sorrow during these months was the condition of my 
wife’s health. The severity of the Peking winter had been too 
much for her frail body and she was seriously ill for over four 
months. Her life was almost despaired of, but the devoted attention 



126 


IN TWO CHINAS 

of Colonel Bertrand of the French hospital pulled her through. 
But the doctor was firm that she should not spend another winter 
m China and warned that, if she did, it might provb fatal. So dur- 
ing all the difficult days of November,. December and January 
when I had to carry on the most dehcate negotiations, I had this 
heavy load on my mind. But the beautiful spring of Peking did 
wonders and by ffie middle of April she was again in reasonably 
good health. Dr. Bertrandhad returned to France and at the sugges- 
tion of General Roschin, the Soviet Ambassador, I entrusted her 
treatment to the Russian speciahsts then in Peking. A remarkable' 
team of Soviet doctors had been engaged by the Chinese Govern- 
ment for the reorganization of their hospitals in Peking. They 
included speciahsts in every line, and I am very grateful to them 
for taking a special interest in the treatment of my wife. 

Barly in February (1951) some information reached me about 
I the activities of a strange organization named Yi Kuan-tao. There 
were rumours of large-scale Government action against this body, 
on the ground of encouraging superstition which worked for 
reaction and on account of rumour-mongering. The original 
organization of Yi Kuan-tao seems to have been started in 1913 
immediately after the fall of the Manchus. Its founder, Lu Chung- 
yi, who had proclaimed himself an incarnation of the Buddha, 
started it as a rehgious sect. On his death in 1923 > his sister 
succeeded him and converted it into a small church with local 
priests who collected funds for her and sold charms in her name. 
Its following was mainly among rickshaw coolies, hawkers, 
porters, etc. Under her successor, Chang Kuan-pi, who took the 
title of Respected Sage, the organization became, something of a 
secret society and spread to diferent parts of China. He esta^ 
lished lodges in difierent places and became a powerful figure in 
the internal poHtics of China. He was undoubtedly used by ffie 
' Japanese as one of their agents. After the Japanese war the Kuoi^- 
tang also found the Yi Kuan-tao usefhl. The Respected Sage died 
at Chengtu in 1947 and was succeeded as the Grand Master of the 

Order by his wife Sun Su-chen. 

The public organization of the sect was somewhat as foUows; 
There were “Churches” or lodges in all the important aties an 



LIFE IN PEKING. II 


127 


under these were branch and family rostrums each with a Director, 
Vice-Director, Priest and San Tsai, the initiator. The words of 
God, revealed through the planchets, were drawn by the initiates. 
Those initiated had of course to take a solemn oath and pay a 
“merit fee.” When you paid the fee you were given the three 
treasures, Chuch, Kuan and Yin. The Chueh were five secret 
charms or spells ensuring long life, physical potency, happiness, 
etc. Kuan was the communication of the holy spirit by the priest, 
wliich gave you special qualities and made you the favoured of 
God. Yuan was the manner of worship. All this was of course 
secret. 

Tlie priests of this Strange sect knew the value of mystifying 
rituals and they had by tlicse methods come to acquire great power 
over a section of the ignorant masses. Tlie Kuomintang authorities 
seemed to have considered tlicm as useful channels of propaganda, 
and in any case they became tlieir agents for spreading the most 
absurd rumours among die people. For many months I had been 
hearing stories of strange prophesies circulating among the people, 
excitement among servants about supernatural manifestations, etc. 
Then one day it was mentioned to me by a fnend that in the 
Central Park there were crowds witnessing some kind of extra- 
ordinary performance which had been taking place under official 
auspices during the past few days. I sent my third secretary, Dr. 
Virendra Kumar, who spoke Chinese fluently, to go and see it. 
He reported in the evening that it was nothing less than the pubHc 
confession of the Grand Master and High Priests of the Yi Kuan- 
tao, accompanied by a public performance of their secret rites, 
humbly explaining to the pubhc the charlatanry they practised 
on the people. 

What the Central People’s Government did when they decided 
to liquidate the Yi Kuan-tao was to arrest the Grand Master and 
the high priests and to announce to the members that the “merit 
fee” exacted from them would be returned to them, if they 
surrendered their charms and spells. But knowing that superstition 
dies hard, the Government also, decided to expose the tricks and 
charlatanries of the sect. The Grand Master and the high priests 
were asked to conduct the ceremonies and to explain to the people 



128 


IN TWO CHINAS 


the trickeries they practised. They were then made to apologize 
for the fraud they committed on the pubhc. This went on for 
weeks, making the Yi Kiwn-tao a source of public amusement. 

Apart from legal action against old-time gangs like the Yellow 
Ox and the secret societies with which China was riddled, it 
became clear by about the end of March that the Government was 
planning action on a mass scale against “counter-revolutionaries,” 
On the 26th of March no less than 199 coimter-revolutionaries were 
executed in Peking, After that, I gathered from various sources 
that all over the country martial law courts had been set up to deal 
with the problem of the remnants of the Kuomintang which had 
been left behind to form the nucleus of resistance and rebellion 
when Chiang Kai-shek returned to the mainland. There was no 
doubt some reason for the People’s Government to take strong 
measures to destroy the effectiveness of this tmderground force. 
It was frequently stated that plans had been worked out by the 
American Intelligence Officers (General Donovan’s name was 
frequently mentioned) in co-operation with the exiles in Taiwan 
to make some landings in the south. Both the Americans and the 
Kuomintang beheved that the south was ready to rise against 
Peking and there were many comings and goings between 
Tokyo and Taipeh, and announcements from Taiwan of impend- 
ing invasions. The Peking authorities were in no mood to takerisks, 
and the mass campaign they started for the Hquidation of coimter- 
revolutionaries and reactionary elements seems to have effectively 
disposed of over a million and a half people who were either 
actively Kuo min tang agents or suspected of sympathies with 
Taipeh. 

What worried me more than the “liquidation” of the counter-, 
revolutionaries which was in some ways only a continuation of the 
civil war, was the poHcy which the Government was pursuing 
towards the missionaries, nuns and Christian priests of foreign 
* nationahty. AH my Hfe I have been an opponent of missionary 
activity in the East. I have always considered the missionaries as 
spiritually arrogant, contemptuous of the faiths and beliefs of 
others, subversive in their social purposes and propagandists for 
the theory of the inherent superiority of Europe. Cffina, especially 



LIFE IN PEKING. II 


129 


had a clear and unanswerable ease against the missionaries, for 
mission work in the country had been under the protection of 
extra-territoriality. But for all that, I could not understand the 
policy of the Government in regard to European missionaries. 
Those who desired to go away could not get exit visas. Their 
hves were rendered altogether miserable. Charges of the most 
extraordinary kind were made against them by the public. 
Cadiolic nuns in different cities were accused and tried of large- 
scale murder of children in their orphanages. The circum- 
stances of trial were also by no means pleasing. The proceedings 
were broadcast. There was notliing very much I could do, but 
both from die point of view of humanity and as a friend of China 
interested in her good name I took up the matter more than once 
vnth. Chou En-lai. In this work I had the staunch support of the 
Swiss Minister, Clement Rczzonico, who was a man of great 
sensibility and exceptional understanding. Though an ardent 
catholic, and a conscr\^ativc, he had sufficient sympathy for New 
China to understand, if not appreciate, the changed attitude of 
Peking towards the West. We therefore worked hand in hand to 
secure some amelioration of the conditions of the missionaries. 
In my conversations with Chou En-lai on tliis question I always 
emphasized that China would not lose anything by allowing the 
missionaries to go away by giving them exit permits freely. I never 
got a really satisfactory answer about this matter. The only case in 
wliicli I could claim some success was that of Archbishop Riberi, 
who was Intemimcio in Nanking when I was there. When the 
communists took over he stayed on in liis capacity as Apostolic 
Delegate. His position was a very difficult one. The attitude of the 
Vatican towards communism, based both on ideological grounds 
and on the treatment accorded to the Catholic Church in such 
countries as Poland and Hungary, traditionally devoted to the 
Holy See, was one of uncompromising hostility. Catholics formed 
the most important section of the Chinese Christian community 
and it was the Archbishop’s function to hold them to their faith, 
to help and encourage them to resist the attempts that were then 
being made to establish a national Catholic Church. Through the 
Legion of Mary and other organizations he worked hard to this 

I 



130 


IN TWO CHINAS 


end, thereby providing justification for the Chinese charge that he, 
the agent of a foreign State, was interfering in the affairs of China! 
The Archbishop was arrested and interrogated. At tliis stage I felt 
that it might be useful to mention the matter to Chou En-lai. I put 
it to him, on purely personal grounds, that the Archbishop had 
been my colleague in Nanking and was my friend; that I 
entertained a high opinion of his character and integrity and 
therefore I would like him to be sent out of China rather than 
be imprisoned for subversive activity. Chou En-lai did not say 
anything, but a few days later when the Archbishop was actually 
sent out of China I felt that perhaps I had been able, to do 
something on behalf of my friend. Very soon afterwards, I 
received through Rezzonico a message of thanks from the Holy 
See. 

Rezzonico and myself set ourselves up as an unofficial two-man 
committee to assist the nationals of countries not represented in 
Peking — Italy, France, Belgium, etc. — to get their exit visas, and to 
make normal enquiries about their conditions if they were interned 
in jail. I do not think we had much success but we kept on per- 
sistently urging oin: point of view and using every opportunity 
available to us to press the matter home. 

The general flow of Hfe in Peking at this time was not unpleas- 
ant. What the communists call “cultural hfe” was being actively 
encouraged. In the international club there were regular musical 
evenings at which Chinese artistes performed occasional ballets 
and other performances. What I Hked best was the Peking Opera. 
The communists while keeping the old forms have of course 
changed the content of the pieces, and the favourites are no longer 
old stories from The Three Kingdoms, The Oilman and the Dancing 
Girl, or plays of a romantic character, but those with themes 
relating to the class struggle, such as the famous opera Tdlte White- 
Haired Girl. Actually it was not much more than the use of a vener- 
able and very popular art form for propaganda purposes; but 
there was no denying the fact that it was extremely effective and 
of high artistic quahty. The old artificiahties of the Peking Opera 
have been simplified, but the archaic manner has been preserved. 
In The White-Haired Girl the tension of modem drama and the fine 



LIFE IN PEKING. II 


I3X 

acting by the cliief characters enable one to overlook the crudities 
of its politics. 

One of the most interesting performances I witnessed was by the 
celebrated female impersonator Mci Lan-fang in a play entitled 
The Legend of the Peony Pavilion. The first time I saw Mei Lan-fang 
actit almost took my breath away. Mei was then fifty-sbc but he was 
acting the part of a girl of twenty. The acting was so convincing 
•that tin I was told that it was a man who was acting and that he 
was over fifty-five I was under the impression that Mei Lan-fang 
was a young woman 1 I remember Ellen Terry, then past sixty, 
acting the part of Portia at the Shakespeare Tercentenary Festival 
in 1917. But it was a strained performance. Anyone could see 
that the old lady was trying desperately to recapture a vanished 
atmosphere. In Mei Lan-fang’s case there was no such straining 
for effect. He acted naturally and seemed to have a young woman s 
sotil. 

The piece was a Kun Opera of the Ivling period. The story is 
very thin and very simple. A young lady goes for a walk in the 
garden accompanied by her maid. It is spring time and her fancy 
naturally turns to love. There is some good singing and dancing 
in the garden in appreciation of spring-time beauty. Returning to 
her boudoir, the heroine falls asleep and in her dream she meets her 
love and they go off for a stroll along hills and dales. Wlien she 
wakes up after her romance she is roundly scolded by her mother 
for bemg a lazy good-for-nothing. The story gives ample oppor- 
tunity for romantic acting, dancing, and singing, hx all of which Mei 
Lan-fang is a master. Afterwards I have had many opportunities 
of seeing him act in many different pieces including one which I 
was told he has composed himself in honour of the goodwill 
mission led by Mrs. Pandit, and always I felt the same thrill as 
when I saw him first. 

The Chinese restaurants of Peking were of course a perpetual 
source of joy. In a spirit of adventure we wandered all over Peking 
m search of them. A young Chinese lady by the name of Christine 
Kung who was a great friend of my daughter used to accompany 
us on these expeditions. We used to select restaurants with pro- 
vincial specialities and were amply repaid for the trouble we took 



132 


IN TWO CHINAS 


by the rare quality of the food which these out-of-the-way restau- 
rants served. The most interesting and jperhaps the most famous of 
these places is the Mongohan restaurant near the Bell Tower. It is 
an amazing place, a broken-down hut in a narrow street among 
malodorous surroundings. It faces one of the extensions of the 
Peihai lake. There were but three small rooms and the bitter 
north wind kept coming through uncovered patches in the roof. 
But the place itself was scrupulously clean. In the central room was 
a big oven where the customer cooked his own meat. The atten- 
dants prepared the meat — ^the famous Mongohan mutton — ^washed 
it and brought it up to you on a plate. You did the rest. You 
mixed it up with sauce and some greens and put the whole on 
the surface of the pan which was shaped like the back of a tor- 
toise. A blazing fire continuously burnt under this pan. There, 
with your chopsticks, you kept turning the meat till it became 
properly cooked. Then you transferred the meat into a bowl in 
which you had already prepared a sauce of beaten eggs and 
sugar. You ate standing near the oven and when one bowl was 
over you began cooking another. 

The most interesting experience I had in this restaurant was 
with Rewe Alley, the famous New Zealander who had been the 
life and soul of “Indusco,” the industrial co-operatives about 
which we used to hear so much during the Sino-Japanese war. He 
is now running the Santan school where he is attempting to 
introduce into Chinese rural hfe scientific skdis and methods, 
meant to change the productive system of the villages. Rewe 
Alley is a broad-built, pleasant-loo^g man with a fine sense of 
humour and generous sentiments. Talking to him, one would 
hardly think that he has been hving and teaching in out-of-the-way 
places in the interior of China for over fifteen years — a new and 
strange kind of missionary. Rewe Alley, who makes no secret 
now of being a communist, told me th?.t he was saved from facing 
a Kuomintang firing squad by the good opinion that Sir Ralph 
Stevenson formed of him and his work. 

The party where I met Rewe Alley was given by Dr. Atal who 
had led the Indian Medical Mission to China in 1937- Others 
invited were Burchett, the Austrahan newspaper correspondent. 



LIFE IN PEKING. II 


133 


and a Syrian doctor (Chinese name Ma Hai-tai), married to a 
Chinese fihn star. Burchett was a cocksure advocate of peace, 
who gave the impression that he felt convinced that he was saving 
the world by shouting the slogans of the peace congress. Ma Hai- 
tai, who had spent nineteen years of his hfe in America, has been 
working with the Chinese communists for the last twelve years. 
He was one of the original group of foreigners in Yenan and had 
stayed on in Cliina, securing employment in the PubUc Health 
Ministry. His Chinese wife was a cinema actress of unusual beauty, 
who looked more like a countess from a convent school. Her 
conversation was interesting and inteUigent and she seemed to be 
wide awake about world affairs. 

Both Rewe Alley and Ma Hai-tai were mighty eaters and, as if 
in competition, they stood near the oven and cooked and ate no 
less than twelve dishes of meat — a record I should think even at 
tliis Mongohan restaurant. The conversation ranged from Ameri- 
can propaganda to Chinese names, and as three of them, Atal, 
Rewe Alley and Ma Hai-tai had been at Yenan, we heard a great 
deal of reminiscences about that legendary period when Mao 
Tse-tung and his associates were Hving in caves and directing a 
guerrilla warfare all over China. 

Pohtical activity in relation to the Korean peace had come more 
or less to a standstill with the branding of China as an aggressor, 
but when MacArthur was dismissed there was a shght flutter of 
activity. On the iith of April at 7 p.m. I heard over the B.B.C. 
that Truman had deprived MacArthur of all his commands. No 
longer the S.C.A.P., no longer the Supreme Commander of the 
United Nations Forces, no longer the super-Mikado, the man 
who thought he could defy anybody and get away with it found 
himself hke a recalcitrant priest unfrocked by superior authority. 
Strange is the power of democracy. The most powerful soldier, 
in command of vast forces and exercising for the time supreme 
control over a great Empire, is dismissed by a simple order, and he 
has no option but to surrender his authority and leave. The world 
looked up in pleased surprise. But the Chinese, strangely enough, 
showed no interest in the matter. For four days there was no 
comment in the Chinese papers about MacArthur’s dismissal. 



134 


IN TWO CHINAS 


Finally on the I5tli we had a plethora of articles, all meaning the 
same thing : MacArthur has been recalled because he was defeated: 
because Truman wanted to put the blame on him for the failure 
of the Americans in Korea. On careful consideration, I had myself 
come to the conclusion that the fall of MacArthur would not 
immediately improve the chances of peace. The pohtical situation 
in the U.S.A. following MacArthur’s dismissal would make it 
difficult for Truman to talk of peace, for the Repubhcans, I 
calculated, would lose no opportunity to capitalize on the 
President’s action. 

The Government of India kept on pressing me to take advantage 
of the new situation created by the dismissal of MacArthur. But 
my feeling was that the situation had not changed materially, that 
Truman had only denoimced MacArthur’s “deviationism” — ^his 
tendency to play off his own bat — that American policy both in 
respect of Taiwan and of the Peking Government’s recognition 
remained imchanged. I saw Chang Han-ffi aU the same, and 
pressed for some ffiendly gesture, but he was most imresponsive. 
So I retired into my shell. 

At this time we were negotiating for a grain deal with China, 
for milo and rice, a matter which caused some astonishment to 
western nations, who had been continuously fed on propaganda 
about “famine conditions” in China. Hong Kong had been 
putting out stories of large-scale scarcity conditions in different 
parts of China as a result of communist oppression, and the offer 
to sell foodgrains to India had not, therefore, been taken seriously 
by the West. But when the agreement was signed and the ships 
began loading in Darein, they changed their tune. The American 
papers declared that it was a pohtical deal, that China was depriv- 
ing herself of food to make an impression on India. Anyway, I was 
happy that when food conditions in India were serious and we 
were facing famine China was able to sell us the grain we required 
so urgently. 

When the winter was over, I suggested to theWai Chiaopu 
that fadhties should be afforded me to visit villages in different 
I parts of China in order to understanci the eSects of the land reform 
I pohcy about which one had heard much. The Chinese Govern- 



LIFE IN PEKING. II 


135 


meat made no difEculty. The first villages selected lay some miles 
to the north of the Marcopolo bridge. We were accompanied by 
two rhembers of the peasants’ association and an officer from the 
protocol. Till we reached the Marcopolo bridge — the scene of the 
famous Sino-Japanese incident — there was nothing very special one 
could see, except evidences of renewed building activity, repairs 
of canals, etc. Crossing the bridge, which was heavily guarded at 
both ends, we came to a ridge, a natural defensive barrier, some- 
thing like the Delhi Ridge, where we saw a great deal of military 
preparation. There were light tanks and other army vehicles 
parked against the hiU-side — ^partly no doubt as protection against 
bandits, but partly also as a precaution against airborne landings 
meant to disrupt military communications with the north. Also, 
there were small factories, dotted aU over the landscape, eviden- 
cing an intensive activity in this field. We reached the village, the 
name of which I forget now, at about 12.15. As this was the first 
village in communist China that I visited — though I had occasion 
during the course of the year to see scores more in different parts 
of the country — a short description of the visit and the impres- 
sions I gathered may be of interest. 

We were met on arrival by the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and 
members of the village committee and escorted courteously to the 
village school. The committee is elected by all the adult population 
of the village — excluding of course the dispossessed landowners. 
Previously the committee members had all been either landless 
labourers or poor farmers (that is owning less than an acre and 
cultivating it by their own labour). As soon as we were seated and 
treated to the customary cups of tea, I began asking questions 
through my own interpreter Dr. Kumar. How many mows of 
land did the Chairman have before ? How much has he now ? How 
many cattle, farm implements ? How much did he make out of the 
land ? What did he give to the State ? What was his net income ? 
How did he propose to spend it ? The Vice-Chairman who was an 
intelligent young farmer acted as the spokesman and gave full 
and frank replies. There were no extravagant claims. The produc- 
tion figures which he quoted were not very different from those 
in normal areas in India. What interested me most was the new 



136 IN TWO CHINAS 

spirit. The members of the committee, though poor or landless 
peasants, had a full appreciation of what had been done and were 
talking to me as free and independent men. They discussed the 
issues which I had raised with a clear understanding of how they 
afiected local conditions. For example, when I asked the commit- 
tee about the prospects of co-operative fanning, the question 
rather worried them; but when Kumar explained what F meant, 
they all shouted together: “Yes, of course, this is exactly what we 
have been discussing among ourselves. We are trying to work out 
a scheme of labour pool and common marketing.” 

I went round the school which had eight teachers and 250 
students. Though a primary school, some of the students were 
quite grown up, as they were having an opportunity to go to 
school for the first time. Afterwards we walked round the fields, 
inspecting a munber of plots, each cultivated by the owner by his 
own and his family’s labour. One of the peasants explained to me 
the cropping system. I have considerable experience of inspecting 
cultivated lands since this is an unavoidable duty for the Prime 
Minister of an Indian State. Apart from that, I myself came 
from farming stock and had some direct knowledge of similar 
conditions in India. I was therefore able to enter into discussions 
with them about the technical aspects of their problems. When 
they discovered my interest they became quite expansive and 
explained to me how they got over minor difficulties, how the 
peasant association brought to them the experience of other 
villages, etc. etc. 

Seeing a large and imposing building at the far end of the 
village I asked what it was. A temple, I was told. What was it used 
for now i “An orphanage and an old people’s house maintained by 
the village,” was the reply. Passing the temple, we came to the 
co-operative store. It was well stocked with consumer goods and 
also with bean cakes for manure. But what attracted my attention 
most was a well-displayed document hanging on the wall — the 
Patriotic Testament, which all the members of the co-operative 
society had signed. Apart from the slogans of fighting American 
aggression, helping Korea, defending the fatherland, it pledged 
members to work for increased production, to safeguard people s 



LIFE IN PEKING. II 


137 


property (public assets), to understand politics better, etc. This 
Patriotic Testament — a kind of covenant signed by the people — 
was one of the most effective methods of national integration 
that the new regime had introduced, and later during my travels 
I was able to see how far it had penetrated, into the desert area of 
Gobi no less than into tlie best rice villages of Canton. 

After this, I went in, on my own, into a worker’s house. It was 
a one-room tenement of mud and plaster — ^newly built by the 
owner himself. He was a landless worker before, and when the 
plot was allotted to him he buUt the house himself. It was a clean, 
spacious room but there was in it a beautiful vase — a sign to me 
of inherent culture. The owner was not there when I went in but 
he came back in a hurry, his hands dirty with mud as he was 
working. He shook hands with me most vigorously, forgetting 
the mud on his hands, and insisted on my taking the usual tea. 
The only other house I saw in the village was one in which an 
old widow, the mother of a P.L.A. man, was living. It was also 
a one-room house. On the hang or the Chinese built-in bed were 
four large boxes. At least two of them, it seemed to me from 
their appearance, she must have received when the landlord’s 
superfluous property was distributed. There were also a number 
of vases, a clock, a photograph of the hero-son, and lots of 
chickens in the courtyard. The old widow received me in the 
manner of a duchess, "with great condescension; was not her son 
a hero, fighting perhaps in Korea? — and she insisted on being 
photographed with me. 

The main impression I had of the village was one of freedom, of 
an immense release of energy, of a great spirit of self-assurance and i 
desire to achieve things. Economically a holding of three mow j 
(three-fifths of an acre) for an individual is nothing very much. 
But the land reform has broken the chains, made the vfllager free, 
and has given him a new sense of dignity and self-respect. That is 
indeed a great achievement. 

In May we had an unofficial goodwill mission fi:om India, the 
first of many to be exchanged between China and India. Though 
it was an unofficial one, and some of its members were coimected 
with front organizations, I liad actively encouraged this visit as I 



138 


IN TWO CHINAS 


felt that I would be able to handle the delegation, many of whom I 
had known quite well for many years. The leader of the delegation 
was Pandit Stmderlal, a man of very good impulses and high 
character, but a Httle uncritical and inclined to be over-enthusiastic. 
But the delegation also contained men like Dr. V. K. R. V. Rao, 
the Dkector of the Delhi School of Economics, Prof. Mahommed 
Habib who had been with me at Oxford and had succeeded me as 
Professor at Ahgarh where he still held the Chair of History, Prof. 
Mujeeb, his brother, head of the Jamia Milha and. AErs. Hannah 
Sen, the President of the All-India Women’s Conference, none of 
whom could be accused of feUow-traveUing or pro-commimist 
pohtics. Leftist opinion was also amply represented in the delega- 
tion by Mulk Raj Anand whom I had known from his college days 
in London, and by Karanjia, the vivacious editor oi Blitz, whose 
private social behaviour and general understanding of issues bore 
no relation to his pubhc face as the editor of the sensational 
weekly. I had only a casual acquaintance with Karanjia before his 
arrival in China and the Blitz had not prejudiced me in his favour. 
But in Peking I came to know him better, and though I cannot 
praise the methods of joumahsm which he has practised so 
successfully in Bombay, I came to Hke him as a man, and as one 
who had an appreciation of some of the essential issues of pohtics. 

The Chinese Foreign Office was not quite certain how I would 
react to the visit of this imofficial delegation but I assured them 
when they raised the matter with me that I was quite happy with ■ 
the selection of the personnel of the delegation and anticipated no 
difficulties with them. I went personally to the airport to welcome 
them; and when the Chinese leaders who had gathered there 
saw Sunderlal, on getting down from the plane, embrace me 
cordially as along-lost brother, they were quite ’surprised. On 
the very next day the delegates came to me for a briefing and 
for over four hours they discussed all issues frankly with me. The 
Chinese authorities realized that the relations of the Indian Govern- 
ment even with those who opposed them were not of the kind 
which they had imagined, and as a result everything went off very 
well. At the banquet given in their honour the embassy was fully 
represented, and Pandit Sunderlal’s speech followed mainly the 



LIFE IN PEKING. II 


139 


lines of my own public utterances, though it was more effusive 
and less restrained. The mission visited different parts of China and 
were treated with the greatest friendliness. 

I was looking forward to witnessing the May Day celebrations, 
my first in Peking. It was ideal weather, and at 9.30 the diplomatic 
corps took its stand on the gallery erected for them. Punctually 
at ten, Mao Tse-tung showed himself on the balcony, and 
immediately an immense procession carrying banners, huge 
portraits of the leaders of the proletariat of aU countries, and car- 
toons of American action, began to march past. There were many 
thousands of bright red silk banners and flags. Every conceivable 
device had been used to make the procession attractive and 
picturesque from front, from above, and from the sides; for 
instance one group marched in a square formation, all red on the 
top with five stars in yellow, which if viewed from the air would 
look like an immense flag. 

Seven hundred thousand men, women, boys, and girls, marched 
past in six hours. Mao Tse-tung stood there on the balcony of the 
Tien An Men — the gate of Heavenly Peace — from ten o’clock to 
3.15 without once sitting down or relaxing, though all of us in the 
diplomatic gallery retired from time to time to rest a httle. For 
over two months the Hong Kong papers had been talking about 
Mao’s illness, about his being put on the shelf by the Russians. 
In fact many among the western diplomats even in Peking had 
begun to beHeve that Mao was seriously ill, as he had not appeared 
at any pubhc function after the Indian National day on the 26th of 
January. But there on the balcony he had stood like a rock for five 
hours and a quarter, waving his hands every two minutes. The 
Swedish Ambassador, Hammustrom, insisted that it could not be 
Mao but his double and repeated many stories of Hitler’s days to 
prove his point. Moerch, the Danish Minister, was equally con- 
vinced that Mao had been artificially propped up, and that he must 
have had numerous injections before coming to the ceremony. 
This was what the West liked to beHeve. 

Since the end of January I had not seriously interested myself in 
the Korean situation, feeling that it would be best to He low till 
both sides were in a better mood. AH suggestions from Delhi for 



140 


IN TWO CHINAS 


taking up again the thread of negotiations were discouraged by 
me, and the Prime Minister who fully understood the position did 
not also press the matter any further. But early in May, B. N. Rau 
wired from New York that the Little Assembly was likely to 
recommend “sanctions” against China unless the conference idea 
could he renewed. It did not appear to me that a conference 
under U.N. auspices was likely to appeal to the Chinese and I 
rephed to Rau in that sense. But on reconsideration, I thought 
that there might be a new opening for peace talks if Rau could 
put forward a proposal for a conference outside the United 
Nations — ^that is, one convened by Britain or Russia or even India 
and confined to the powers interested in the Far East. Nothing 
came out of this for the moment and on the i6th the American 
proposal for an embargo on China was passed by the poHtical 
committee. The Indonesian charge, Izzak Mahdi, made the most 
interesting comment on it. The embargo would not hurt the 
Chinese much, but it would hurt Indonesia since the Americans 
would be able to force down the price of rubber in the absence 
of Chinese purchasers ! 

Though I was despondent about the immediate possibility of 
bringing about a truce in Korea, I kept myself in close touch with 
my colleagues of the Soviet bloc, especially with Burgin, the 
Pohsh Ambassador, who was always prepared to discuss questions 
reasonably, as well as with Wezikopf whose attitude to the entire 
Far-Eastern problem I foimd extremely interesting. Burgin had 
visited North Korea and what he told me of conditions there was 
almost unbehevable. According to him over eighty-five per cent 
of the houses in North Korea had been destroyed and Pyongyang 
was a city of ruins and the people were Hving in holes and caves: 
but the morale of the North Koreans was high and their fighting 
spirit was higher than ever. This had been told me by others also; 
people who had been to Korea and come back. I was therefore 
satisfied that there was no possibility of the Americans gaining a 
mihtary decision, especially as the Chinese air force had become a 
factor of importance. 

In the meantime, I had developed a new interest. On the 30th 
of April, Mr. Hoang, who was the head of the Vietnam delegation 



LIFE IN PEEING. II 


I41 

in Peking, "with the rank of ambassador, asked me for an interview. 

• India’s position in regard to the two rival States in Vietnam has 
been one of strict neutrality. We had refused to accept either the 
Bao Dai regime which had been sponsored by the French, or 
Ho Clii Minh’s Government which had been recognized by the 
Chinese as being the sole Government of Annam; and our declared 
attitude was that we should recognize as the Government of 
Vietnam only the party which had control at least of the major 
portion of the State. The fact that Bao Dai was a French nominee 
and was kept on his precarious throne by French bayonets made it 
whoUy impossible for us to recognize him as an independent ruler. 
So far as Ho Chi Minh was concerned, though his Government 
controlled large areas he was still fighting for victory and had not 
estabhshed his authority over the entire State. So while the 
sympathy of the people of India was, generally speaking, on the 
side of the national freedom movement, we had been careful to 
maintain an attitude of strict neutrality. Hoang’s request, however, 
did not embarrass me. I was desirous of meeting him so that I 
could develop some kind of contact with what had undoubtedly 
become one of the major facts of Asian poHtics — the growth of a 
new democratic State in Indo-China. 

Hoang was a youngish man who spoke French fluently but no 
English; but his First Secretary, a young man of great abihty,knew 
India well and spoke excellent English. Hoang had been a guerrilla 
fighter for many years and was intimate with Ho Chi Minh and 
other leaders who control the movement. His view, which he 
explained to me at some length, was that Vietminh had already 
won ‘khe basic victory” as was proved by the fact that during the 
last five years France had been unable to take the offensive. So far 
as his Government was concerned, it was in no hurry to take 
over the cities till it had estabhshed itself, had fully organized 
the territory under its control, and had developed its own cadres 
and worked out a new economic poHcy, aU of which he indicated 
they were doing systematically in the area now occupied by them. 

I asked him about Cambodia and Laos. His reply was that Viet- 
minh’s relations with the resistance movements in those countries 
were on an international basis, and that the movement which 



142, 


IN TWO CHINAS 


Ho Chi Minii headed was confined to Vietnam proper, i.e., 
Annam, Tonkin and the territories belonging to the old Empire. 

When I returned his call, a few days later, I asked him about the 
prospects of a truce in hido-China and of a settlement of the 
problem by negotiations. His answer was: “What is there to 
negotiate ? The French have only to go away. We are prepared at 
all times to negotiate about that. But a truce without France 
accepting beforehand to evacuate our country would only mean 
giving a respite to the weary French forces.” Hoang also told me 
that the French were very distrustful of Americans, and while 
prepared to accept financial and military assistance hated the idea 
of having American advisers attached to Bao Dai’s Government. 
Bao Dai in his turn was playing the Americans against the French. 

In June the pohtical atmosphere began to clear a Httle. Dean 
Acheson’s evidence before the Senate Committee declared posi- 
tively that America was agreeable “to a rehable cease-fire on the 
38th parallel,” and that neither the U.S. nor the U.N. had any 
intention of bringing about the unity of Korea by mihtary action. 
He expressed himself ready also to discuss the question of the 
admission of China to the United Nations. Immediately I wired to 
Delhi requesting the Ministry to ascertain officially firom Washing- 
ton whether the State Department desired this question to be 
taken up with the Chinese. But nothing very much came out of 
this, as the Americans were not yet prepared to make a formal 
proposal. Things, however, were definitely moving. On the 24th 
of June, the anniversary of the Korean war, Yakov Mahk made his 
famous offer of a cease-fire at the 38th parallel and this took the 
world by surprise. Everyone seemed pleased. The Americans, the 
British, and ffie Chinese agreed that the time had come to discuss 
cease-fire. I advised Delhi to be cautious as in my opinion the 
Russian move was meant only to put the Americans in the wrong, 
or as We2dkopf explained to me, “to carry the struggle on to 
another plane.” That in Bet it was so was proved by the fact that 
it took over eighteen months of negotiations to reach the cease-fire 
agreement. 



CHAPTER XI 


A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 

I HAD been over a year in Peking but had not seen anything of 
the country outside Peking, Tientsin, and Shanghai. Early in 
spring I had planned to go to Manchuria but Mr. Nehru 
advised me in view of the Korean situation to remain at head- 
quarters as no one knew how things might develop from day to 
day. When the truce negotiations started, however, the position 
seemed clear enough to enable me to undertake a tour and see 
things for myself in the interior. Accordingly I informed the 
Chinese Foreign Office of my desire to travel in the North 
Western Region and received the necessary permission without 
undue delay. The original plan was to go to Sian and Lanchow 
and from there through the Gobi desert to the famous Tunghuan 
Caves on the borders of Sinkiang. But my wife insisted on includ- 
ing Yenan also, though that town was out of the way and quite 
inaccessible by ordinary methods of commrmication. I tried to 
dissuade her but she mentioned the matter directly to ChouEn-lai 
once when he came to dinner and he not only agreed to the 
suggestion but warmly welcomed it. A few days later we were 
told that everytliing had been arranged for the journey and a 
■special aeroplane was being put at our disposal for our tour. 

My party consisted of my wife and daughter and a Chinese- 
speaking secretary, Dr. Virendra Kumar. The Foreign Office sent’ 
with us a young English-speaking officer, Lang Shin-kang, to look 
after our convenience and to be a haison officer with local authori- 
ties. We had been very friendly with Lang from the beginning of 
our stay in Peking and we were very glad to have him, especially 
as he was well aware of my wife’s special requirements in the 
matter of food. At our request a photographer was also added to 
the party. We left on the 2ist of August and reached Sian before 
lunch. We were received with great courtesy by the leading 



144 


IN TWO CHINAS 


officials of the local Government. Arrangements had'been made 
for us to stay in the house of General Yang, who under the orders 
of “the young marshal” Chang Huseh-Hang had arrested and 
imprisoned Chiang Kai-shek in 1936, for which act of temerity he 
had later to pay not only with his Hfe but with the complete 
rooting-out of his family to three generations. 

Sian is an epitome of early Chinese history. Known then as 
Chang An, it was the capital of the two great mdigenous dynasties 
of China, the Han and the Tang, and was in fact die most impor- 
tant cityin the cotmtry till the Mongols foimded Peking and made 
it their capital. Around it are many historical sites, such as the 


tomb of the firstEmperor Chin Sluh Huang Ti, the sulphur springs 
of Lin Tun Shan, where Yang Kwei Fei, considered the most 
beautiful woman of China, held her orgies which weUnigh 
brought down the Tangs, where later Chiang Kai-shek was 
arrested while engaged in planning his campaign against the 
communists, the great tower erected in honour of Hiuen Tsang, 


the celebrated pdgrim who returned firom India loaded with relics 


and books. In Sian is also situated the academy of inscriptions, the 


earhest of its kind, which houses a unique collection of documents 


and books engraved on stone, one of the most interesting of which 
is the Sian-& tablet which describes the arrival of the Christian 


priest Olopin in A.D. 635 “bearing the true sacred books.” 

-Besides visiting the pubhc institutions arranged by local 
authorities, I went without notice to many wayside villages to 
see for myself the efiects of agrarian reforms and the changes 
brought about by the revolution. Curiosity also took me to Lin 
Tun Shan, the hillside resort of Yang Kwei Fei. It is now fre- 
quented by workers for whose benefit special buses are run from 
Sian. I was accompanied on my visit by an officer who had the 
privilege of guarding Chiang during his imprisonment. From him 
I heard the story of the arrest. What he told me was that when 
Yang surrounded the place with his soldiers and after overcoming 
the guards forced his entr}’- into the pavilion, Chiang who was 
then resting in his underwear climbed the wall with the help of a 
nephew of his and jumped to the other side and fled into the 
jungle behind. We walked up to the place where he tried to hide. 



A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


145 


There he was discovered by General Yang’s men and taken in a 
jeep to Sian. Though the weather was bitterly cold, Chiang it 
would seem asked many times for water during the short drive of 
forty-five minutes. In Sian the Generalissimo was kept closely 
guarded. Chiang seems to have been totally overwhelmed by this 
unexpected turn of events and refused to take food, perhaps out of 
fear of being poisoned. The officer also added that till ChouEn-lai 
arrived from Yenan, Chiang was afraid of being shot by his 
captors. On the walls of the pavdion someone has written a poem 
in Chinese to commemorate this incident. Freely translated its 
meaning is as follows: 

A great thieving animal was caught here 
but it was let off, when we discovered, 
that it was no wolf 
but a jackal. 

Lin Tun Shan may well be described as the hdl of the triple 
tragedy in Chinese history. The earliest story associated with it is 
that of an emperor who lost his throne in his effort to please a 
morose wfe. The lady could not be made to smile and therefore 
the emperor in order to please her had the beacon lights lit on the 
Lin Tun Shan, which was the traditional signal for summoning 
the feudatories in case of danger to the capital. The feudatories 
arrived post haste in response to the signal but were told that it was 
all a mistake. Seeing their discomfiture, the empress was pleased to 
smile. But as luck would have it, a few months later the bar- 
barians actually appeared before the capital. The beacons were 
again lit, but the feudatories thinking that it was another joke 
failed to arrive and the capital easily fell to the enemy. The second 
occasion was when Huang Ming, the “BrilliantEmperor,” the most 
talented monarch of the Tang dynasty, became a puppet in the 
hands of Yang Kwei Fei. It was this lady who built palaces and 
pavilions around the sulphur springs. Her revelries in this place led 
to a rebellion which drove the emperor out of his capital and 
forced a discontented soldiery to hang her in front of the emperor. 
The third and most sensational incident was the arrest of the 
Generalissimo, 

As there were many places connected with Hiuen Tsang around 

K 



IN TWO CHINAS 


146 

Sian, I found it interesting to stay a few days more in Sian than I 
had originally intended. The Faith Propagating temple erected in 
Hiuen Tsang’s honour which is situated about thirty miles away 
from Sian was specially interesting because the great pilgrim’s 
tomb is in a shrine attached to it. The extensive buildings of the 
temple are now used as a school and in the guest house “young 
pioneers” — the communist equivalent of “boy scouts” — meet for 
their activities. But I was glad to notice some ash of recently- 
burnt incense. 

In the villages we visited we saw ample evidence of revolution- 
ary activity.. Every one had taken the “national pledge” and walls 
were as usual plastered with slogans of Resist America, Aid 
Korea. People were keenly interested in the land reform and I, 
through my own interpreter, discussed with some of the farmers 
their special problems. The villages I visited had also peasants’ 
organizations, study groups, women’s organizations, and the entire 
paraphernalia of New Democracy. The chairman of the Women’s 
Association, a lady of old times, with lily foot, discoursed to me at 
length on the progressive character of the new marriage laws. I 
asked her how many marriages had been registered under the new 
law. Only two; how many divorces’ One, was her reply. The 
marriage revolution had not evidently penetrated so far. The 
association is, however, active. The chairman told me with pride 
that her association had 126 members — ^practically the entire adult 
women population of the village — and that they were divided into 
six groups: production, hand spinning and weaving, study, 
culture, etc. 

On the last day of our stay in Sian, the local Government 
invited us to a special dramatic and dance entertainment by the 
“culture group” of the city. The AEnister of Culture was a 
democrat and a scholar in the old style, a great admirer of Tang 
poetry, who was ready to quote Li Po and Tu Fu at the sHghtest 
provocation. The entertainment he put on for us was very interest- 
ing, a combination of the old and the new as almost everything 
else is in China. It began with two scenes from a Shensi opera 
based on a story from the amials of The Three Kingdoms. Its theme 
was the jealousy that a victorious general felt towards the chief 



A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


147 

minister, on the plausible argument that but for his strategic 
abilities the State itself would have been destroyed and there 
would have been no place for a chief minister. His claim therefore 
was that the civil authorities should be considered inferior in rank 
and position to liim. It is the queen that mediates in the quarrel 
and brings the presumptuous general to see the wisdom of allow- 
ing the aflairs of the State to be run by civil authorities. Everything 
of course ends well, with the general visiting the chief minister and 
apologizing to him for his lack of understanding. The acting was 
in the traditional style with make-ups, masks and symbolic 
gestures similar to those in the Peking opera. This was followed 
by songs and dances with a strong political bias. A group of 
Mongolian boys and girls first put on a dance which was de- 
scribed as New Life in Mongolia, meant to depict the happiness 
and firecdom in which they hved under the new regime. Another 
item, called The Dawn in Sinkiang, was by Kazak and Uighar boys 
and girls. It opened with a song, the first tunc of which roughly 
translated meant “Oh Sinkiang, our beautiful Smkiang, you are 
sunk under feudal oppression.” This is sung in an atmosphere of 
gloom and darkness: then suddenly Hght begins to appear. It is 
the People’s Liberation Army coming to Sinkiang, and joyous 
dance and music follow. It was of course political propaganda but 
propaganda done with beauty and artistry. 

From Sian wc flew to Yenan — the celebrated cave city which 
was Mao Tsc-tung’s headquarters for eleven years. It was only when 
we got into the plane that we were told that the airstrip in' Yenah 
which had not been used for many years had to be specially 
repaired under Chairman Mao’s orders to enable our plane to land 
there and that was the reason for the slight delay in arranging our 
programme. Yenan is about 200 miles from Sian. The intervening 
country is full of impassable ridges and canyons and almost 
uninhabited and one could well understand why Mao Tse-tung 
selected this place as his headquarters after the long march. The 
town is on the banks of a river which flows through a gorge, 
affording natural facilities for cave construction. On both sides of 
the river, a city with twenty thousand cave habitations, housing 
universities, hospitals, party headquarters, organs of the liberated 



148 


IN TWO CHINAS 


area government, etc., had come into being during the days of 
Mao’s occupation. Today it presents a deserted appearance, though 
every effort is being made by the Peking Government to maintain 
its importance. 

Yenan had a niche in Chinese history even before the com- 
munists made it their headquarters. The great poet, Tu Fu, who 
shares with Li Po the throne of Chinese hterature, took shelter there 
during the Turki rebelhon in the time of Huang Ming, the Tang 
Emperor. It is in this place that he is reported to have composed 
soma of his most brilliant anti-war poems which may be read in 
Waley’s translations. There is also in Yenan a cave of 10,000 
Buddhas, a Buddhist retreat omamentedby many images of Sakya- 
muni sculptured m rock. During the period of communist 
occupation this cave housed the Liberation Daily, a crudely-printed 
sheet whose articles, however, were scanned with care m Tokyo, 
no less than in Nanking, in London no less than in Washington, as 
it was the mouthpiece of Mao Tse-tung and the People’s Liberation 
Army. 

We stayed two days in Yenan visiting the historic sites, the 
caves where Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai, and others used to hve, 
the building where the famous session of the communist party 
was held which decided on a coahtion government, the plot where 
Mao cultivated tobacco for his own and his friends’ use, the Yang 
family garden where Chu Teh, an inveterate tree planter and 
gardener, had planted peach trees, the valley of culture where was 
situated the Lu Hsun college of art, the site of the anti-Japanese 
war academy where Lin Piao trained his cadres, the hospital in 
which the Indian medical mission worked, etc. From the Yang 
family garden, I arranged for some peaches to be sent to Chu Teh, 
as I was told those were the trees he himself had planted and that 
he had never been back there since the trees began to bear fruit. 

Yenan is unimportant as a town now; but a visit to it is impor- 
tant as without it no one can understand fully what is happening in 
China. It was the laboratory in which the pohtical and economic 
experiments of new China were tried out on a large scale. It is the 
“blockade economy” which the communists developed in Yenan 
that gives them the confidence in their struggle against the em- 



A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


149 

bargo which tlic U.S.A, is enforcing against China. It is the austerity 
that the leaders and the cadres developed in these barren regions, 
where they had to make the soil yield the utmost, develop an 
industry out of primitive conditions, create by human labour what 
everywhere is done with the help of machines, that provides the 
basic experience, strength, and discipline of the present Chinese 
Government. 

My most interesting experience in Yenan was a visit I paid to a 
mountain village just outside the town. In this area land revolution 
had taken place in 1935, before even Mao Tse-tung reached there. 
The leader of the movement there was Kao Kang, the present 
chairman of the People’s Government of the North-East (Man- 
churia). As the village land had been distributed over fifteen years 
ago, I thought it would be worth while to see how things had 
developed. The village is situated about 500 feet above the road 
leading outside Yenan. People hve in caves bored in the hill-side, 
and cultivation as on the lower ranges of the Himalayas is in 
terraced plots. Cotton, castor oil, wheat, and mullet are grown. 
There are only eleven families in the village. The chairman of the 
viUage came to Yenan as a wandering beggar in 1938 and was 
allotted the usual seven mows of land (an acre and a quarter) for 
himself and his wife. There he evolved “a mutual aid” system by 
which he shared the implements and animals of his neighbours for 
giving some of his wife’s and his labour to a neighbouring family. 
He prospered and when K.M.T. re-occupied Yenan in 1947 he left 
with the communists and came back again in 1948. He was given 
back his land but this time there were no implements or animals 
for himself or his neighbours. Then six out of the eleven families 
joined under his leadership in a mutual aid team, "with shares 
worked out on the basis of adult labour power. Thus he with his 
two nephews and nieces-in-law contribute five units to the 
labour pool: others in the same way. They cultivate the fields 
jointly and share out the produce. Implements, manure, etc., are 
bought in common, each family contributing according to the 
area it owns. I talked not only to him but to some others of the 
“team” and found that the system had worked remarkably well, 
increasing production, providing suitable implements and manure. 



150 


IN TWO CHINAS 


and better means .of sale. For bis success in this “mutual aid team” 
system the old man has been elected Labour Hero of the country. 

“The mutual aid team in cultivation” is a very important step 
and is nationally encouraged both as solving the problem of 
fragmentized land, and secondly as a step to collectivization. It is 
in fact a collectivization in miniature proceeding from the people 
and not imposed by the State. It seemed to me much more 
effective than the compHcated system of land consoHdation 
attempted in different parts of India. It provided education in 
rural leadership, mutual help, and an elementary co-operative 
system. The difficulty in India would be the tendency to take the 
disputes arising out of labour-shares to courts. Here it is not 
permitted. The village council decides the dispute. 

We spent a considerable time with the family of the labourer in 
his cave and were treated to bean soup and tea and parted in great 
friendliness. The cave had the usual mud-built bed, a number of 
large china jars to keep dried vegetables, a wooden store for grain, 
and a stove for winter. The adjacent cave connected by a door in 
the “wall” was used as kitchen, etc. The caves were decorated (as 
everywhere else) with pictures of national heroes, a copy of the 
national pact which all adult members of the family had signed, to 
increase production, to protect the property of the nation, to resist 
America, aid Korea, etc. Seeing the farmer and his prosperous 
family discussing the budget of next year and his hopes of in- 
creased production, it was almost impossible to believe that he 
and his wife had been wandering beggars only thirteen years ago. 

From Yenan we returned to Sian, and left the next day for 
Lanchow. Though it is one of the most famous places in China for 
natural beauty, we did not stop there on our outward journey as 
the Sino-Soviet planes fly only twice a week. So we went on to 
Chiao Chuan, an oasis in the Gobi desert situated about 350 miles 
to the west of Lanchow. The country to the west of Lanchow for 
a distance of about a hundred miles is covered with high mountain 
ranges with snow-clad peaks. This range forms the natural 
boundary of China proper. The desert officially begins on the 
other side of the range, called in Chinese the seven ranged moun- 
tains, though it was clear from the air that the desert has been 



A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


I5I 

encroaching rapidly. Till quite recent times the area between the 
mountains and Chiao Chuan must have been a fertile plain for 
many river beds and large oases can still be seen. But the move- 
ment of the desert has been irresistible. 

Chiao Chuan is tlic scat of a Commissioner’s government. It is 
a pleasant and extensive oasis and forms an important centre of 
supply and communication to Sinkiang. A 650-mile motor road 
which comiects Lanchow with Ansi, another large oasis in the 
desert, passes through Cliiao Chuan, From here our journey was 
by weapon carriers, jeeps, and trucks which had been provided by 
the local authorities, who also gave us an escort of thirty men of 
the P.L.A. We had to carry everything with us, beds, blankets, 
provisions, cooks, and servants. 

The desert was said to be infested with gangs of bandits who 
operate from inaccessible mountains which in some parts come 
quite near to the road. The Chinese Government had therefore 
ordered that special precautionary measures should be taken for 
the safety of the party and when our convoy stopped anywhere 
even for a minute the army personnel immediately rushed to the 
most advantageous posts with their machine-guns. 

Compared to the Gobi, the Indian desert, in the middle of which 
I had hved for nine years, is a very tame affair. The Indian desert is 
of soft sand, with quite a lot of shrubbery and a great deal of 
naturallife — ^birds, for example. The Gobi on the other hand is not 
sandy. It is hard and crusted and for thirty and forty miles at a 
stretch there is no sign of any kind ofhfe. One sees but rarely birds, 
or other Hving things. Also there is no vegetation, merely a vast 
expanse of dark, hardened soil, where even camels do not tread 
during day. Leaving Chiao Chuan, our first haltwasataplaceahun- 
dred miles farther to the west, known as Yu Men, or the Jade Gate. 
It is now an oasis of respectable size, not less than thirty or forty 
square miles. At one time the Great Wall of China extended to this 
place. It was its farthest extension to the west. At that time, as 
the name the Jade Gate suggests, it must have been the hmit of the 
Gobi desert. But during the last few hundred years the desert has 
encroached much into the interior, leaving Yu Men an oasis. 

One thing I noticed here apart from the usual construction 



152 


IN TWO CHINAS 


work — carried on as elsewhere without interruption — ^was that 
army units were engaged in extensive agricultural operations, 
probably for the supply offerees scattered over the area. By even- 
ing time we reached An Si (which means Western Peace), a small 
town another hrmdred miles inside the desert. Here the local 
government had reserved a roadside inn named “Three Friends” 
entirely for our use. Though it was no more than a mud hut 
with a few rooms, the local authorities had put in carpets, beds, 
etc., and converted it into a suitable place for a night’s rest. 

A road from An Si goes to the Tunghuang village from where 
the caves he at a distance of two miles. There is only a rough track 
to the side of the moimtam and up to the very last minute no 
opening could be seen anywhere, no evidence of hmnan occupa- 
tion or of any activity. When we reached the luU, there was a gap 
like a side entrance from which a river must have once emerged, 
for it was clearly a river bed. Once you enter the gap, the sight 
that greets you is something for which you have not been pre- 
pared. You see before you a small valley, apparently surrounded 
on all sides by hills, a garden enclosed by nature. It has two gaps 
both invisible from outside unless one comes very near to the site: 
one through which the river, now dry, entered the valley, and the 
other through which it emerged into the desert to disappear in the 
parched sands. One side of the valley is green with recently-planted 
poplars and a tiny rivulet runs by it. Behind the poplars He the 
range where Buddhist monks over 1,400 years ago bruit their caves 
for retirement and meditation and embeUished them with paint- 
ings, which are amongst the supreme expressions of mural art, 
comparable only to the cave paintings of Ajanta, Bagh, and Sigiri. 

The authorities had arranged for us to be put up in a newly- 
constructed building meant to serve as a local muserun. It is- a 
modem type of building with a pleasant garden attached to it. 
Facing the building are the caves and on both sides the officers of ■ 
the Tunghuang Institute have planted ornamental and useful trees 
and vegetable gardens. Sweet melons, perhaps the sweetest in the 
world, native to Sinkiang, have been brought and cultivated 
successfully, the local officials even claiming that they taste better 
than their Siokiang originals. They are undoubtedly as delicious 



A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


153 

as the best Lucknow Kharbujas. Though it was only the first of 
September the weather was exceptionally fine, bright, and sunny 
-but cool during day and quite cold at night. The air was bracing 
and as in all desert areas the night was particularly fresh with a 
clear and star-studded sky. Altogether it seemed an ideal place at 
this time of the year. But the institute officials warned me that the 
winter in Tunghuang was extremely severe, with the temperature 
generally several degrees below zero. This severe winter extends 
for over five months. It is difficult to imagine how the monks 
lived and worked there in the winter months, but it seems certain 
that they lived in the caves all the year round. 

The “discovery” of Tunghuang and the suddenness with which 
it leapt into world fame constitute one of the romances of 
twentieth-century exploration and archaeology. Tunghuang had 
of course never been forgotten in China, though the caves were 
uncared for and the general pubHc had neglected them. Even 
stray foreigners had visited the caves in the nineteenth century. 
Count Szechenyi’s expedition visited Tunghuang in 1867 and 
one of its members. Professor L. de Loezy, has left a glowing 
description of the paintings in the caves. But neither the Chinese 
public generally, nor the world at large, knew anything about 
the existence of Tunghuang until Sir Aurel Stein announced to 
the world the discovery of tlie great library hidden away and 
walled up in one of the caves. 

Prof Loezy ’s descriptions of Tunghuang had fired Stein’s 
imagination and after exploring many parts of Sinkiang and the 
ruins of cities in the Gobi desert, following the footsteps ofHiuen 
Tsang he arrived at last in Tunghuang with a party of Indian 
assistants and a Chinese secretary. In the desert he had heard 
through a man named Zahid Beg, “vague rumours about a great 
hidden deposit of ancient manuscripts which was said to have been 
discovered accidentally in one of the grottoes.” It was said that 
these manuscripts were not in Chinese and xmder orders firom 
Peking they had been locked up again. Stein’s desire was to get 
hold of these. The manuscript hoard was under the care of a 
Taoist priest named Wang Tao-shih, who was totally ignorant 
of their' value. He was a kind of self-appointed guardian of the 



154 


IN TWO CHINAS 


grottoes and with money collected through his personal effort 
had built a nine storeyed temple in one of the grottoes to cover 
the immense statue of the Buddha w^hich attracted his innocent 
mind because of its size. How Stein by persuasion, duphcity and 
by a little money overcame the scruples of Wang can best be 
described in his own words : 

“The presence of tins quaint priest, with his curious mixture of 
pious zeal, naive ignorance, and astute tenacity of purpose forcibly 
called to my mind those early Buddliist pilgrims who, simple in 
mind but strong in faith and superstition, once made their way to 
India in the face of formidable difficulties. 

“More than once before, my weU-known attachment to the 
memory of Hiuen Tsang, the greatest of those pilgrims, had 
been helpful in securing me a sympathetic hearing both among the 
learned and the simple. Wang Tao-sbih, too, had probably heard 
about it. So, surroxmded by these tokens of lingering Buddhist 
worship, genuine though distorted, I thought it appropriate to teU 
Wang Tao-shih, as well as my poor Chinese would permit, of my 
devotion to the saintly traveller; how I had followed his footsteps 
from India for over 10,000 h across inhospitable mountains and 
deserts; how in the comse of this pilgrimage I had traced to its 
present ruins, however inaccessible, many a sanctuary he had 
piously visited and described; and so on.” 

This argument seems to have had some effect on Wang who 
allowed Stein’s secretary to carry to his tent a bundle of rolls. The 
very first examination showed that the bundles contained “sutras 
from Buddhist canons which the colophons declared to have been 
brought fiom India and translated by Hiuen Tsang himself.” 
Stein felt justified in calling upon the saint again and had it hinted 
to Wang that it was the intervention of the spirit of Hiuen Tsang 
that led to so unexpected a discovery and the saint would only be 
pleased if the books were presented to Stein, of course for a con- 
sideration. “Under the influence of that quasi-divine hint,” says 
Stein, “he now summoned courage to open before me the rough 
door closing the narrow entrance which led fi:om the side of the 
broad firont passage into the rock-caved recess, at a level of about 
four feet above the floor of the former. The sight of the small 



A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


155 


room disclosed was one to make my eyes open wide. Heaped up 
in layers, but without any order, there appeared in the dim Hght 
of the priest’s lamp a sohd mass of manuscript bundles rising to a 
height of nearly ten feet, and filling, as subsequent measurement 
showed, close on five hundred cubic feet.” 

When some of these bundles were examined they were found to 
contain not only manuscripts in many languages, but also paint- 
ings of exceptional beauty on fine gauze-like silk and linen, 
representing Bodliisattvas and scenes from Buddhist legend. The 
question of acquiring this had become urgent. Says Stein: “Then, 
tired as wc all were, I took the occasion to engage the priest in 
another long talk about our common hero and patron saint, the 
great Hiuen Tsang. What better proof of his guidance and favour 
could I claim than that I should have been allowed to behold such 
a wonderful hidden store of sacred rehes belonging to his own 
times and partly derived, perhaps, from his Indian wanderings, 
within a cave-temple which so ardent an admirer of ‘T’ang-seng’ 
had restored and was now guarding? Again I let the Tao-shih 
enlarge, as we stood in the loggia, upon the extraordinary adven- 
tures of his great saint as depicted in those cherished frescoes on its 
walls. The panel which showed Hiuen Tsang returning with his 
animal heavily laden with sacred manuscripts from India, was the 
most effective apologue I could advance for my eager interest in 
the relics the Tao-shili had discovered and was yet keeping from 
daylight. 

“The priest in his more susceptible moods could not help 
acknowledging that this fate of continued confinement in a dark 
hole Was not the purpose for which the great scholar-saint had let 
him hght upon these precious remains of Buddhist lore, and that 
he himself was quite incompetent to do justice to them by study 
or otherwise. Was it not evident, so Chiang (Stem’s Chinese 
secretary) pleaded with all the force of liis soft reasoning, that by 
allowing me, a faithful disciple of Hiuen Tsang, to render 
accessible to western students the Hterary and other rehes which a 
providential discovery had placed so abundantly in his keeping, 
he would do an act of real rehgious merit ? That this pious con- 
cession would also be rewarded by an ample donation for the 



IN TWO CHINAS 


156 

benefit of tbe sbrine he had laboured to restore to its old glory, 
was a secondary consideration merely to be hinted at.” 

With this argument to help him Stein acquired and brought 
away firom Tunghuang 9,000 manuscripts and paintings for a 
paltry sum of 500 rupees. When the news of Stein’s discovery 
with its rare Sanskrit texts so long considered lost and precious 
paintings came to be known, it created a great sensation in the 
world of scholarship. The very next year the great French scholar, 
PeUiot, emulated Stein and did the job even more thoroughly. He 
ransacked the hbrary so systematically that when Stein visited 
the caves a few years later no manuscript of value was left there 
for anyone to acquire. 

When the acquisition and transfer to Western capitals of this 
great collection of books came to be known, it not only aroused 
pubhc indignation in China, but created widespread interest in 
academic and scholarly drcles about the caves themselves. The 
Kuomintang Government also took steps to establish ah Institute 
at Tunghuang under competent artists. The authorities of New 
China were quick to realize the immense value of this great 
repository of ancient Chinese art and have now taken it under their 
special care. A great exhibition was held in Peking in the spring of 
1951 in the Forbidden City, where copies in colour of representa- 
tive work from most of the caves executed by modem Chinese 
artists were made available to the general pubhc. Thus the wheel 
has come round again and after the neglect of seven centuries, 
Tunghuang is becoming once more the centre of a great artistic 
revival. 

The lower half of the mountain-side facing the valley seems to 
have been plastered and painted when Tunghuang was in its full 
glory. Only here and there some of the painting has survived the 
neglect of centuries. In some places stray Apsara figures of Indian 
mythology could be seen painted on the mountain itself, whose 
proportions clearly testify to their being part of a larger design. 
Inside .in the 460 caves beginning with the time of the Wei 
dynasty (sixth century) and ending with the Yuans (thirteenth 
century), covering a period of 700 years, there can be foimd an 
immense artistic effort, a veritable treasure house of painting. 


A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


157 

decoration and design. The idea of the rock-cut temple itself is 
derived from India. Apart from this, and the figures and legends of 
Buddhism which form the subject-matter of the art of Tunghuang, 
many of the striking features of these caves are borrowed from 
India. Thus, as Silcock has observed, “the painted ceilings are 
divided into rectangular panels in the semblance of the real coffers 
and beams of Indian architecture.” The circular and three-sided 
arches, covering the niches carved from the rock, are also of 
Indian origin. The pipal leaf motif, also a common feature, comes 
directly from India and of course is connected with the sacrediiess 
of the bodhi tree. These features continued to the end, even after 
the paintings in Tunghuang had become predominantly Chinese. 
The earhest-dated cave was painted in a.d. 572 in the time of the 
Wei emperors. Tunghuang is therefore at least 200 years later than 
the earlier caves of Ajanta and contemporaneous with some of its 
later caves. The best work in painting as well as design was done in 
the earher caves, though the paintings of the Tang period also are 
marked by perfection of technique and a genuineness of inspira- 
tion. But the Tang painting had aheady become a httle luxurious 
and decadent, at least so far as Buddhist painting was concerned. 
While the Wei painting was vigorous, and composition perfect in 
every way, the Tang art tended to become elegant and formahstic 
with over-decoration of figure and ornaments and stylization of 
form. Also the Wei period painting shows greater influence of 
Indian art. More especially in some of the famous Jataka story 
panels, depicting the incidents from the Buddha’s earher births, 
such as the Bodhisattva giving the eagle a piece of his own flesh 
in exchange for the Hfe of a dove, or the prince who sacrificed 
himself in order that the starving tigress and her cubs might Uve, 
both painted in the Wei period, the Indian inspiration and tech- 
nique are clearly marked. 

Though the Wei period was thus the most constructive, the 
Tang caves ca nn ot be considered merely as imitative or decadent. 
The artistic genius of the Chinese achieved its most characteristic 
expression m poetry, painting, and sculpture during this period of 
national greatness. During the early and middle Tang periods, the 
Wei inspiration is continued, but there is a change in colouring, 



IN TWO CHINAS 


158 

technique and treatment, the Tang painters using a kind of 
chemical dye which has become discoloured with time. The panels 
are much larger, with numerous personages crowding die scene 
and a new type of human figure is evolved, which combines 
Indian and Chinese characteristics. The stories are no longer the 
simple tales of Buddha’s sacrifices, but those relating to Buddhist 
controversies with the Brahmins. A popular theme is the gift by a 
prince of the royal umbrella to the Buddha which the king, under 
the influence of the Brahmins, attempted to recover. On this, the 
prince, his wife and children and their attendants become monks. 
This story is painted in diSerent variations in many caves. Another 
favourite theme with the Tang artists in the larger caves is the 
representation of the Pure Land of the West (India). After the 
return of the early pilgrims and especially of Hiuen Tsang, India 
seems to have captured Chinese imagination as the Holy Land of 
Pure Virtue and the Tang artists gave free play to their imagination 
in depicting scenes from the holy land. In three very large caves 
may be seen colossal images of the Buddha after his parmirvam, 
with his disciples lamenting the loss of the master. Here the Tang 
■ artists excelled themselves, for the statues are remarkable for their 
grace, proportion and dehcacy. The walls of the caves depict scenes 
of the familiar story of the kings of the coimtries where the 
Buddha had lived and preached arriving to mourn and to claim a 
share of his remains. The Tang artists are also responsible for two 
other immense images of the Buddha in a sitting posture, one of 
which is over sixty metres in height. The paintings on the walls 
of this cave were unfortvmately destroyed by the Taoist priest 
who, however, erected a nine-storeyed pagoda to cover the statue. 
The smaller image, twenty metres in height, equally beautiful, 
may be seen in the cave as the Tang artists left it. The walls of this 
immense cave are covered with paintings of rare beauty. Alto- 
gether it may be said that the Tang caves, though they are more 
sophisticated than the Wei and Sui caves, and show less genuine 
devotion, stiU contain masterpieces of the painter’s and sculptor’s 
arts. 

In the later Tang caves (a.d. 800-900) there is a marked falling 
off. The fleshy cheeks and obviously contented and self-satisfied 



A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


159 

expression of the later Tang figures in these caves reflect little of 
the serenity and spiritual calm of Buddhism. The love of all 
created beings,' the poise and happiness given by faith, the very 
austerity ofHfe — all ofwhich are essential aspects of great Buddhist 
art, including the art of die Wei period in Tunghuang — ^seem to 
become less and less marked as centuries rolled on. 

In the period of the five dynasties (907-960) when the Tung- 
huang area passed under the great Turki family of Tsao some fine 
work was again done. A Tsao ruler opened two large caves which 
were decorated with beautiful painting dealing with the Buddha’s 
life. With the Sungs (1000-1200) a new tradition starts. The 
artists not only opened new caves, installing large images of the 
Buddha and painting numerous murals, but they also painted new 
layers on earlier panels. In some places the two layers are plainly 
visible. There is noticeable decay in taste and the paintings are not 
of the same quality as those of the Wei or Tang periods. 

The contribution of the Mongol dynasty was the introduction 
of tantrism which seems particularly incongruous in the atmo- 
sphere of Tunghuang. The tantric gods and goddesses of Lamaism, a 
variation of the Indian Sakti cult with their maithima pictures make 
their appearance in these later caves. From the artistic point of 
view they are not without force or beauty. 

Though the predominant motive of the paintings in the Tung- 
huang caves is Buddhist, it should not be thought that all the pictures 
are reHgious or deal with the Hfe of the Buddha. In numerous 
caves there can be seen pictures of the daily lives of the common 
people, men and women engaged in normal occupations, plough- 
ing, harvesting, milking, governors going in procession, ladies 
being carried in sedan chairs, etc. Pictures representing dancing, 
music and general enjoyment are also not uncommon. One 
interesting panel represents people of various provinces in China 
going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain in Shansi. 

The creative effort in these caves continued for over 600 years, 
with varying degrees of inspiration. They form indeed a veritable 
treasure house for Asia as a whole, for the caves were inhabited, at 
least during the first three centuries, by a great international 
coinmunity of monks. Though the work was done predominantly 



IN TWO CHINAS 


i6o 

by the Chinese artists as the decorations and some of the character- 
istic early Chinese motives dearly prove, and the rehgious inspira- 
tion and perhaps the early techniques came from India, there is 
evidence of Persian, Turkish, and other influences at work. A great 
international reHgion like Buddhism recognized no differences of 
race and nationahty and the innumerable monastic cells must have 
housed thousands of pious monks from all parts of Asia. 

From the point of view of Chinese history Timghuang is of very 
spedal importance as it provides an unsurpassed record of hfe 
through many centuries : pictures of costumes at different periods, 
modes of transport, architectural designs, etc. 

There is reason to think that Timghuang has not yielded all her 
secrets to the world. Recent discoveries indicate that there is at 
least another set of about a hundred caves buried in sand, which may 
prove to have been even better preserved than those now opened. 
The Tunghuang Institute is studying plans now for exploring these 
caves. 

It is impossible to conclude the description of this visit without 
alluding to one of the most extraordinary cases of yandahsm, 
perpetrated in the name of scholarship. We in India are familiar 
with the theft of artistic treasure. Tunghuang also suffered from 
such activities by acquisitive scholars : but the amazing attempt of 
an American named Warner, who tried by a chemical process to 
transfer the mural paintings themselves to specially prepared 
cloth and take them away to America, thereby spoiling some of 
the most beautiful panels beyond repair, is without parallel in the 
theft of artistic treasures. He is reported to have carried away 
twenty-four such pictures, but a second and more comprehensive 
attempt was fortunately foiled by the just anger of the Chinese 
pubhc. 

In regard to the future work at Tunghuang one thing seemed to 
be a clear necessity. It is of vital importance to the work both in 
India and in China that those responsible for the preservation of 
cave paintings should co-operate closely. It is necessary that the 
work in Ajanta and Bagh should be studied carefully in the hght of 
Tunghuang and vice versa. The visit of Dr. Dchang, the Director of 
the Tunghuang Institute, as a member of the Cultural Mission to 



A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


i6r 


India a few months later, was perhaps the first step in this 
direction. 

Wc may conclude this brief survey of the immortal caves of 
Tunghuang with a few observations. How did so large a monastery, 
with a vigorous artistic and cultural life, come to exist in the middle 
of the Gobi desert i Was it sheer perversity, a desire to lead a life 
of contemplation away from the madding crowd, that led the 
monks to establish themselves in this walled-up, tiny oasis ? How 
is it that after over 700 years of unceasing activity, the caves with 
their artistic treasures and the great hbrary were abandoned by 
their occupants; These questions cannot yet be decisively an- 
swered, but the discoveries of archaeologists and historians make it 
possible for us to understand something of the causes that led to 
the growth, decay and abandonment of Tunghuang. 

As is well known, by the fifth century A.D., Buddhism had 
established itself firmly in China. The intervening territory 
between China proper which then extended to An Si (eighty miles 
from Tunghuang) and the Indian borders would seem to have been 
under local rulers who were staunchly Buddhist. Kumarajiva, the 
first great missionary who came to China, the son of a Kuchean 
princess and an Indian father, himself belonged to one of these 
kingdoms. At least from his time a great and continuous traffic 
developed between India and China along this route. Sir Aurel 
Stein’s explorations have unearthed many monasteries and cave 
temples right from the Indian fiontier to Tunghuang. In the cave 
temples of Sinkiang, the paintings are, I am informed, of even 
superior excellence to those of Tunghuang. It is therefore fair to 
presume that these cave temples and monasteries were established 
as rest houses and dharmasalas for pilgrims and missionaries on their 
way to and from India. The Tunghuang caves represented the last 
stage of the long journey from India, as the Great Wall of China 
extended at that time to An Si (Western Peace). Also, Tunghuang 
was on the main line of communications with the Byzantine and 
Arab West, with which areas also, imder the Tang emperors, 
economic and commercial relations had developed to some extent. 

With the tenth century, when communications with India 
became infrequent as a result of both the decay of Buddhism in 

L 



i 62 


IN TWO CHINAS 


India and the penetration of Islam into the Kabul valley, Tung,- 
huang and the other cave temples on this route began to decay. For 
a time the area passed under Tibetan control which. explains the 
prevalence of tantric motives in some of the later caves. Finally 
vwith the upheavals in Central Asia, following Mongol conquest, 
the vigorous cultural hfe of that area of which Tunghuang was an 
expression was practically destroyed. Before abandoning the 
caves, the monks seem to have taken the precaution of concealing 
the great collection of books which they were unable to carry 
away. There they remained under the protecting cover of sand 
till the Taoist Wang in his well-meant effort to restore one of the 
caves discovered them and stood guard on it, like the fabled Jinn 
over a treasure, without knowing what it contained and how 
valuable it was. 

Today there is a new hfe of intense activity in Tunghuang, not 
indeed of opening new caves and decorating them vdth paintings 
depicting scenes from the Buddha’s hfe, but of steady research, 
preservation and copying. The desert is being made to yield its 
secrets and with the estabhshment of a school of arts and a 
museum at the caves, a revival of Sino-Indian artistic traditions 
may be witnessed in these desert areas where the two countries 
co-operated so fruitfully many centuries ago. 

We returned to Lanchow by a special plane which was kindly 
sent to bring us. In Lanchow I visited a village where land reform 
had been given effect to only partially, the special college for 
national minorities, and the workers’ palace of culture. 

The village which I visited is situated in one of the eighteen 
islands in the Hoang Ho (the yellow river) and could only be 
reached by a sheepskin raft. The yellow river at Lanchow is so 
rapid and treacherous that no boats ply on it. The raft which is 
used is made by tying together into a square a number of inflated 
sheepskins. It cannot be used to go against the current and is 
therefore allowed to float down the river. It appeared safe enough 
once we were on it, but the experience of going down on a small 
raft in one of the most dangerous currents was certainly exciting. 
We reached the island after about half an hour of this journey. 

The village Yenthen consists of 71 houses and has a 



A TOUR IN THE INTERIOR 


163 

population of 200. The soil is perhaps one of the most fertile in the 
world, being formed from the loess brought down by the river. 
It was formed only about 200 years ago. We saw some such 
islands in the process of formation. There are seven villages in the 
island and we were received by Mr. Wei, who may be described 
as the headman of villages. The chairman of the village council, 
“a model peasant” named Li Han-fu and the more prominent 
peasants accompanied us. Land has not yet been distributed in 
the village. It was proposed to do so after the autumn harvest, 
i.e. in about another two months. But rents had been reduced 
by twenty-five per cent as from the date of the liberation and 
all illegal payments had been abolished. Li Han-fu himself is 
the owner of five mows (about an acre). Landlords, rich peasants, 
middle peasants, and poor peasants exist in the village. After 
hberation, the Government gave them seeds, fertilizers and 
implements and also helped them with money. Production has 
therefore been increased by over thirty per cent. A labour 
exchange system was in operation of which Mr. Li Han-fu was the 
leader. Forty-six people were enrolled in this team tmder which 
each one imdertook to help others in their field work in his spare 
time. This increased available labour power for each field. Li 
Han-fu had been elected model peasant for the entire province of 
Kansu, he explained to me, on three grounds. First his general 
production record, secondly his leadership of the labour exchange 
system, thirdly for his general eflSciency. He was wearing three 
medals and possessed a fourth one. Politically the village seemed 
highly educated, perhaps due to its proximity to the town. I asked 
them a number of questions about the '"Aid Korea” movement 
and the villagers had all the answers at their fingers’ ends. Un- 
doubtedly ^the elimination of the landlord’s exactions and the 
assistance given by the Government had created a new spirit in 
the village. 

The College for National Minorities in Lanchow is one of the 
three institutions estabhshed by the Central People’s Government 
hi 1950: one in Peking as a central national institution, the 
second at Lanchow for the minorities of the north-west, and a 
third one at Chengtu for the tribes and minorities of the south- 



IN TWO CHINAS 


164 

west. It is said that there are twenty-two national minority groups 
in the north-west. Actually there are only three, the Muslhns, the 
Mongols, and the Tibetans, but the Chinese Government have 
spHt. up the MusHms into many smaller racial units. Muslims 
technically mean only Chinese Muslims of Shensi and Kansu. 
The Muslims of Sinkiang are classed as Uighars, Kazaks, etc. 

The Lanchow Minorities College is the central institution for 
the north-west. There are three other colleges, one at Chinghai 
mainly for Tibetans, a college in Sinkiang to serve local needs and 
another for Mongols. There are also mobile schools for giving 
short-term courses to minority groups. 

At Lanchow, the Governor, a cousin of Ma Huang-kwei — the 
celebrated Muslim war lord — entertained us to a banquet. A few 
of the guests were Muslims like the Governor himself but they 
were Chinese — or Hans — and there was nothing to differentiate 
them from the rest. The banquet was specially notable for one 
dish — of python — which had been specially procured from 
Szechuan. Dining my stay in China I, like others, had been treated 
to many speciahties which seem strange to people from other 
countries; but this was the first time that the flesh of python had 
been offered to me as a rare dehcacy. At first I did not know what 
it was, but my daughter who understood some Chinese was able 
to make out firom the conversation of our Chinese fiiends that 
it was the meat of a snake. On this I asked the Governor what it 
was, adding of course how dehdous it tasted. The Governor was 
very pleased that I had expressed my appreciation of the dish, for 
he said it was python w’^hich could only be had in Szechuan. It 
tasted like the white meat of chicken, and whatever dismclination 
I might have felt to the taste of snake’s flesh I was careful not to 
show, and to eat it as if I considered it something which I had 
long been waiting for. 

, The next day we returned by ordinary ah service to Peking. 



CHAPTER Xn 


THE END OF A MISSION 

I HAD requested the Prime Minister to be posted to Egypt 
as a result of the advice of the doctors that my wife’s restora- 
tion to normal health would require a prolonged stay in some 
warm and sunny country. I received permission to relinquish my 
post before winter and to return to India by October, but soon 
afterwards Mr. Nehru modified his orders and suggested that I 
should go back to China in February or March for a few more 
months so that I could bring to a conclusion one or two important 
questions which were under discussion and also help if possible in 
the final stages of the cease-fire negotiations in Korea. I therefore 
returned to India early in October. Instead of spending the winter 
months in India I requested that I might be allowed to go to 
Europe for the time in order to renew contacts and gain a first- 
hand appreciation of pohtical developments in the "West. As the 
General Assembly of the U.N. was meeting in Paris that year, Mr. 
Nehru suggested that I should join the delegation as it would 
enable me to meet the leaders of pubhc opinion without earning 
undue speculation. But it was understood that I would be free to 
visit England and spend a part of the time there. 

I arrived in Paris a few days after the Assembly session had been 
formally opened. B. N. Rau who was the leader of the delegation 
had aheady nominated me to the special pohtical committee. As it 
was fully appreciated that I might not be able to devote much 
time to the important issues that came up before that body the 
Delegation also allotted to the Committee Mr. R. K. Nehru as 
niy alternate and P. N. Haksar, chief of the political department 
of the High Commissioner’s office, as adviser. The first question 
before the committee was the election of the chairman. Kaze 
Suchy, the PoHsh Permanent Representative, who had been 
advised of my presence in Paris by Burgin, approached me on the 



166 


IN TWO CHINAS 


very first day with the suggestion that I should permit my name to 
be put forward for the chairmanship of the committee, in opposi- 
tion to that of the Turkish delegate who was being supported by 
America and the N.A.T.O. powers. B. N. Rau was very pleased 
about it but it was difficult for me to accept the responsibihties of 
chairmanship in view of the programme I had in mind. Also I 
realized the pohtical imphcations of the suggestion. So I excused 
myself, explai n in g firankly that I did not expect to stay in Paris 
for more than three or four weeks. 

There was another curious incident during my stay in Paris 
which caused me much amusement. Naturally enough there was a 
great deal of pubhc interest about conditions in China and I was 
always being pestered by correspondents for interviews and state- 
ments about the regime there. Some speeches of mine in Delhi had 
also caused considerable stir, especially in America. So I had 
utilized the opportunities that presented themselves to me to 
explain India’s attitude towards the developments in the Far East, 
especially our relations with China. The Kuomintang representa- 
tives did not hke this and they held a special press conference at 
which one of their leadmg delegates pronounced a violent tirade 
against me, accusing me of being a communist. It was significant 
that none of the papers took the least notice of what was said at 
that conference. 

Though my stay in Paris was short, I met many of the pohtical 
leaders of France and some of their leading newspaper commenta- 
tors. The Quai d’Orsay, I noticed, was extremely well informed 
about conditions in China and had no ideological prejudices and 
confessed firankly that it was difficult for France to follow an 
independent poHcy in regard to China in view of the situation in 
Vietnam. All their enquiries turned finally to the single point: 
What do you think are the prospects of a negotiated agreement 
with Ho Chi Minh ; I did my best to explain the Vietminh 
position as I knew it not only from Ambassador Hoang but also 
firom other sources in Peking. From the letters which I have since 
received firom French poHtiCal personahties it would appear that 
my conversations had some effect — though it did not show itself 
at the time. 



THE END OF A MISSION 


167 

After three weeks in Paris, I crossed over to London where 
Krishna Menon had with characteristic thoroughness arranged a 
full and most useful programme for me. I met most people of 
importance in the Foreign Office — Eden, Selwyn Lloyd, Strang, 
Lord Reading and others. Lord Ismay, the Commonwealth 
Secretary, I had already known in India. Walter Monckton and I 
had worked together for many years in connection with the 
affairs of the princes of India. I had also some acquaintance with 
R. A. Butler. Krisima Menon insisted on treating my visit as 
being on duty and fixed up for me to see all the leading poHtical 
figures in bothparties, with whom I had most interesting conver- 
sations. The Prime Minister had written to Lord Mountbatten 
about my visit and he invited me privately to dine with him and 
Lady Mountbatten. The conversation was mainly about Kashmir, 
how the question should be handled in the Security Council as 
Graham’s report was then under discussion. I found them both 
genuinely interested in the welfare of India and her good name. 
Lady Mountbatten seemed to be exceptionally well informed 
about what was happening everywhere in India and her frequent 
visits to the country had given her an insight into affairs which 
few people possessed. I considered it extremely fortunate that 
India should have two such good friends. 

I had always admired Krishna Menon for his single-mindedness, 
for his clear vision of pohtical objectives, and his unflagging zeal 
in the pursuit of those objectives. I knew of course that he had his 
detractors, especially among the entrenched civil services of 
India. I also knew that his notorious “incapacity to suffer fools 
gladly” made him numerous enemies. But I had no idea of the 
variety of his activities as High Commissioner. He ran students’ 
hostels, clubs, and numerous other institutions for the welfare of 
the Indian community in London. He had also kept up his 
connection with the India League, an organization of British 
political leaders which he had founded during his career as an 
active politician in England. I noticed also that apart from his 
normal diplomatic activities, his permanent interest was in the 
younger generation, the large body of yoimg men and women 
from India who came to England for higher studies. His relations 



i68 


IN TWO CHINAS 


-with them were friendly and informal, and during the short 
period that I was in England with him, I must have accompanied 
him at least a dozen times to one institution or another where the 
High Commissioner mixed freely with the students and almost 
felt like one of them. 

I returned to India by the end of tiie year. The six weeks I had in 
Europe had convinced me of two things. One was that the Euro- 
pean nations, immersed in their own political and economic 
worries, would not be able materially to influence American 
action in the Far East; and consequently the tension in the Far 
East would not lessen and would continue tfll America decided 
on her own to try some alternative pohcy. The other was that 
France while anxious to bring to a conclusion the “Dirty War” in 
Indo-China would not be permitted to do so by the Americans: 
and, as a necessary corollary of this, the social and economic crisis 
in France would deepen as time went on. Secondly I was fortified 
injny conviction that for India to foUow any other pohcy than the 
one which she was following — that of non-involvement in the cold 
war — ^would be suicidal, because the course of the cold war, 
whatever its origins, was being determined by the opportunist 
poHcies of the U.S. which did not take into consideration the 
interests of her aUies, as was clear to me firom her pressure on 
France to continue the war in Indo-China. 

On arrival in India Pandit Nehru told me that he would like me 
to return at once to China and make one last effort to see whether 
we could not help to bring the Korean negotiations to a satis- 
factory conclusion. He was also desirous that I should see Thakin 
Nu, the Burmese Prime Minister, in Rangoon before leaving for 
Peking. During Thakin Nu’s visit to Delhi in November he had 
discussed Sino-Burmese relations with me privately and when he 
left for Burma he had suggested to Mr. Nehru that I should be sent 
there for two or three days to meet the members of his Cabinet 
and discuss matters vnth them. 

My visit to Burma was extremely useful. The Burmese Prime 
Minister, a man of saintly character who spends a great deal of 
his time in prayer and fasting, received me most cordially. He 
arranged for me to dine with the members of his Cabinet and we 



THE END OF A MISSION 


169 

discussed in some detail the relations of Burma with China. There 
were two main questions which caused the Burmese Government 
deep concern; the first was of course the presence in Burma of the 
Kuomintang guerrillas and the fear that the communist forces in 
Yunnan might pursue these bandits across the border. The other 
was the question of the undefined boundary between Burma and 
China. I had more than once discussed the first point with the 
Chinese authorities at the instance of IVlr. Nehru. At all discussions, 
I had been solemnly assured by Chou En-lai that so long as the 
Burmese Government continued to take adequate steps against the 
Kuomintang intruders, Peking would make no move which might 
create trouble for Burma. The second point I had never raised, as 
I had not been previously asked to do so. What the Burmese 
Government wanted to hear from me was a general appreciation 
of the situation in China in relation to South-East Asia, and more 
specifically whether in my judgment the Chinese would raise the 
question of the undefined boundary as the Kuomintang by 
various irregular acts had tried to do before its expulsion. The first 
question I discussed frankly, while in regard to the second I said 
that I was prepared to discuss matters informally with the Chinese 
Government if our Prime Zvlinister authorized me to take it up. 

The next day the Foreign Minister gave me a dinner which 
went on late into the night- The Burmese are a friendly people, 
always happy, with an infectious sense of humour. Though my 
plan was to take off in the early hours of the morning and I badly 
wanted some rest, they would not let me off, and kept on talking 
and telling amusing stories till two o’clock. Their excuse was that 
till about 11.30, the Chinese Ambassador had also been present at 
the dinner and that in his presence they had to be formal and well 
behaved and therefore they claimed that the party had begun 
only after his departure. Anyway the change in the atmosphere 
was very noticeable. I had the feeling that the Burmese generally 
were nervous of Chinese developments and .felt not a Httle uneasy 
about the growth of a leviathan communist State just across their 
borders — a feeling which is, generally speaking, absent in India. 

Since I visited Burma eighteen months before, things had 
improved beyond recognition. U Nu’s personality had practically 



170 


IN TWO CHINAS 


mastered the troubles, which had then seemed overwhelming. 
The Burmese priesthood had been reformed and brought under 
control; the Government had dealt effectively with the Karen 
rebelhon. The internal dissensions which had weakened the ruling 
party had been overcome to a large extent. The strengthening of 
the internal position of Burma and the close and firm fiiendship 
which it had established with India were two factors which few 
people had foreseen. Before 1947, Britain was prone to beheve 
that Burma would continue to be suspicious and hostile towards 
India and that India, because of the vested interests of the Chettiars 
and of the setded commercial commimity, would also be 
unfriendly towards any nationalist Government of Burma. But 
the wisdom of the two Prime Ministers and their understanding of 
the wider issues that both coimtries had to face have led to a firm 
imderstanding between India and Burma which has been a great 
stabihzing factor in South Asia. 

I returned to Peking early in February. Almost immediately 
after my return Chou En-lai received me. He was gready interest- 
ed in the situation in Europe and asked me many questions about 
the economic and pohtical conditions in England and France. I 
told him that conditions had gready improved in England and that 
the British people were, by and large, moving out of their 
troubles: that it appeared to me that they had carried out a far- 
reaching social revolution peacefully and with the least dislocation 
possible and that any pohtical doctrine which postulated growing 
social unrest in England would only lead to false conclusions. 
He was, I thought, gready surprised at what I told him. The 
possibfiity of a peaceful revolution goes against the accepted 
Marxian doctrine and naturally to one hke himself, with very 
Htde direct knowledge of non-communist coxmtries, it was 
unbehevable that a socialist solution provided a working alter- 
native to a communist revolution. Chou En-lai was also very 
happy about the way the Chinese cultural delegation had been 
received and welcomed in India and expressed the hope that the 
Indian goodwill mission would be arriving soon. 

At the end of a very long and cordial interview of about two 
hours, I informed Chou that my Government were ready to dis- 



THE END OF A MISSION 


lyr 

cuss the regularization of relations in regard to Tibet. Before I left, 
Chou had raised this question and had also indicated that he would 
welcome our good offices for the estabhshment of direct diplo- 
matic relations with Nepal. I told him that the position in Nepal 
was a httle confused and uncertain and that it would be better to 
wait for a time before taking up the matter. ChouBn-Iai promised 
to discuss the whole thing again with me before long. 

At the end of April the Indian goodwill mission arrived in 
Peking. It was led by Shrimati Vijayalakshmi Pandit and was 
fairly representative of the cultural Hfe of India. Acharya Narendra 
Dev and Pandit Amamath Jha represented academic life and 
scholarship. There were scientists, economists, engineers, archaeol- 
ogists — all men of distinction and achievement — on the delegation. 
Classical Indian dancing was represented by Shanta Rao, while in 
Bendre the delegation had a painter of repute. I was very well 
pleased with the composition of the delegation, for I knew that 
Mrs. Pandit with her great prestige in international life and her 
charm of manner would create a very good impression on the 
Chinese, and the rest of the delegation by the variety of their 
talents would help to bring India home to the Chinese pubhc. 
The delegation was received with great enthusiasm. 

To synchronize with their visit, I had arranged for an exhibition 
of modem Indian art, which was opened in the Workers’ Palace 
fay Chou En-Iai. The variety and richness of modem Indian art 
was a revelation to the Chinese and the exhibition was visited by 
large crowds every day. In his speech at the time of its opening 
Chou En-Iai alluded to the influence of Indian artistic tradition on 
China, and instanced the case of the mural paintings in the Tung- 
huan caves, which he had previously described as a perfect 
example of Sino-Indian co-operation. Shanta Rao’s dances, 
especially her interpretation of Bharata Natyam and Mohini 
Attam, were also received with acclamation. 

I was happy to be able to utilize Mrs. Pandit’s presence to re- 
open the issue of the Korean peace negotiations. Even before the 
delegation arrived, I had conveyed to Chou En-lai the suggestion 
that it might be useful in every way to discuss the question of 
Korea with Mrs. Pandit, not only because she had been India’s 





IN TWO CHINAS 


Ambassador in Wasbitigton during the entire period of the crisis, 
but because she would be able to convey personally to Pandit 
Nehru her own independent appreciation. I therefore arranged 
for a small intimate dinner at my house. The party consisted only 
of Chou En-lai, Chang Han-fu, Chen Chia-kang and an inter- 
preter from their side, and Mrs. Pandit, myself, and Kaul from our 
side. After the dinner we sat apart and discussed at some length the 
question of the prisoners of war which had become the stumbHng- 
block to the armistice agreement. Chou was insistent that the 
prisoners on both sides should be repatriated according to normal 
practice. As the U.S.A. was committed to the opposite point of 
view I saw no way out of the impasse, ' but we suggested for the 
first time the possibihty of a neutral examination of the problem. 
The discussions had one advantage. Mrs. Pandit became firmly 
convinced that unless some suitable formula to cover this question 
was evolved the armistice negotiations might finally break 
down. 

Before the delegation left Peking it was received by Mao Tse- 
tvmg. Mrs. Pandit had an interesting talk with him and after their 
conversation he also witnessed' Shanta Rao’s dance. A Chinese 
troupe also performed a specially composed dance of welcome to 
the Indian guests. The climax of that dance was when the stage 
seemed filled with immense lotus flowers from each of which 
emerged a woman with the prima ballerina coming out of the 
central flower. I do not know whether the dance was meant to 
represent the birth of Lakshmi — a classical theme in Indian 
mythology — ^for in that case it was a compliment both to India 
and to Madame Vijayalakshmi. Chou En-lai told me that the 
idea of the dance was given by him to the Dance Academy. 

After finishing their programme in Peking the delegation went 
to Manchuria where they had an opportunity of seeing for them- 
selves how far this vital area, which anti-Chinese propaganda had 
claimed to be under the Soviets, was being run by Kao Kang as 
the laboratory of sociahsm. From Manchuria they travelled by 
special train to the Huai river project, a combined scheme of flood 
control and irrigation, the first of its kind which New China was 
undertaking. I also arrived in Shanghai in time to receive them 



THE END OF A MISSION 


173 

there, for I had arranged for the art exhibition to be opened by 
Madame Sun Yat-sen at the time of the delegation’s visit to the 
city. Madame Sun Yat-sen was an old friend of the Prime Minister 
and had been particularly gracious to me ever since my arrival in 
China in 1948. Even after the revolution we had maintained 
contact, though, not desiring to embarrass her, I had limited my 
visits to formal occasions. Her position in New China was some- 
thing very exceptional. Naturally enough she was a follower of Sun 
Yat-sen and not a communist. In her house the only portrait on 
the wall was that of her deceased husband. She lived the life of a 
lady of culture interested more in good works and devoting her- 
self with single-minded zeal to the great organization which she 
founded and which had now been taken over by the State — the 
China Relief Society. Though she was one of the six Vice-Chair- 
men of the People’s Repubhc she hved generally in Shanghai, 
supervising her numerous institutions. Only on important pubhc 
occasions like the ist of October did she come up to Peking. 

Madame Sun Yat-sen received us in her private villa. As the 
whole delegation was there, she was a Uttle formal and insisted 
on speaking in Chinese and having herself interpreted. Consider- 
ing what mastery she has over the Enghsh language, Mrs. Pandit 
thought this rather strange and affected. In fact it was well known 
that her English was much better than her Mandarin, but the 
procedure of talking only through interpreters is rigorously 
followed on formal occasions in China, though in private com- 
pany the rule is not observed. Madame Sun herself, when she came 
out to say good-bye, spoke to me privately in Enghsh, but the 
pubhc face had to be maintained. 

The next day Madame Sun opened the exhibition and spoke 
very generously about India. Two days later she attended a 
dmner which I gave in honour of the delegation which was 
attended also by Chen Yi and other Party and Government 
leaders in the city. Since the revolution Madame Sun had never 
attended a pubhc dinner, and she was good enough to explain to 
us that while she came to open the exhibition to honour India she 
came to the diimer in order to show courtesy to me as a friend. 
Shanta Rao’s dance after the dinner was greatly appreciated both 



1 


174 IN TWO CHINAS ' 

by Madame Stin, who had some knowledge of Indian dancing 
having seen Udai Shankar in Berlin, and by General Chen Yi. 

General Chen Yi is in many ways an exceptional man. He 
appeared to be in his forties, handsome and well set-up, with 
sparkling eyes and a pleasant manner. His military prowess was 
legendary, for, between him and Liu Po-cheng, the one-eyed 
d,ragon, they had destroyed the military might of Chiang Kai- 
shek in central China and won the great battle of Suchow. Chen 
Yi was the military administrator of East China, from Shantung 
to Fukien, with the civil title of the Mayor of Shanghai. In con- 
versation he appeared to be extremely well informed and dis- 
cussed intelligently many pohtical problems without the least 
tinge of dogmatism. But what struck me most about bim was 
his interest in poetry, music, and dancing. He not only under- 
stood and appreciated Shanta Rao’s dancing and its musical 
accompaniment, but was able to discuss their finer points. Him- 
self a poet of some repute and a soldier of outstanding achieve- 
ments, Chen Yi seemed to me to combine the ancient culture of 
China with the dynamism of the new regime. 

Chen Yi also arranged to entertain us with musical and dance 
performances. A special opera composed by Mei Lan-fang dealing 
with Buddhist themes was put on for us. The delegation also went 
to see many of the pubhc institutions of the city and were taken 
to some factories to see the industrial aspects of New China. From 
Shanghai they went on to Hanchow and from there to Canton on 
their return journey. It was a most successful goodwill mission 
and a great deal of its success was due undoubtedly to the person- 
ality and charm of Mrs. Pandit, whose fidendhness the Chinese 
recognized from the very first day of her arrival in Peking. 

The Prime Adinister had permitted me to relinquish my appoint- 
ment in Peking after the Mission’s return to India. The last month 
was as usual a roimd of visits and parties but I was naturally more 
anxious to secure a settlement of the Tibetan question and to see if 
anything further could be done about the issue of the prisoners of 
war in Korea which had become the sole stumbling-block to the 
armistice negotiations at Panmunjom. Shortly after Mrs. Pandit 
left I received from the Prime Minister a personal message which 



THE END OF A MISSION 


175 


contained some proposals which looked promising. Briefly they 
suggested a neutral commission to take charge of the prisoners 
with an ofier to the northern allies that their representative should 
have the opportunity of freely interviewing the prisoners and for 
giving them the necessary explanations. These proposals were 
understood to have been discussed between Krishna Menon and 
the authorities in England, though the responsibihty for putting 
Aem forward remained solely with us. Two days before the date 
fixed for my departure Chou En-lai invited me to a private dinner 
at his house aiid discussed these proposals at length. The impression 
he gave me was that on principle the proposals were acceptable to 
the Chinese, though there would have to be close negotiations 
about the modahtics of the control of prisoners during the period 
of the explanations and the method of interview, etc. His reactions 
were on the whole satisfactory and I had every reason to feel that 
the proposals would go through, as they did ultimately, though 
only after another six months of hard bargaining. 

The Tibetan issue was simpler. Chou En-lai recognized the 
legitimacy of our trade and cultural interests in that area and 
suggested that the poHtical agency at Lhasa, an office of dubious 
legality, should be regularized by its transformation into an 
Indian Consulate-General in exchange for a similar Chinese office 
in Bombay. This I had been authorized to accept. So far as our 
other posts and institutions were concerned, some of them like 
the telegraph lines, miHtary escort at Yatung, were to be abohshed 
quietly in time, and the trade agents and other subordinate 
agencies brought within the framework of normal consulate 
relations. These were to be taken up as and when the circumstances 
became ripe. The main issue of our representation at Lhasa was 
thus satisftctorily settled and I was happy to feel that there was no 
outstanding issue between us and the Chinese at the time of my 
departure. 

What was my general impression of New China ; I had spent 
over two years in Peking in close contact with the leaders of the 
Central People’s Government. I had also lived in Nanking when 
the Kuomintang regime was stOl powerful and had witnessed its 
tragic disintegration and final downfall. I had passed a tiresome 



IN TWO CHINAS 


176 

period of five months, without any recognized official position, 
but witli freedom to observe the gro-wth of a new society. It was 
a profoundly interesting experience, full of drama, to wimess alike 
the end of an epoch and the beginning of another, the tragic end 
of the hopes of a great movement, with the inevitable concomi- 
tants of national chaos, personal tragedies, sordid betrayals and 
confusion aU round, and the enthusiastic beginning of a new 
period, hailed as the dawn of a great era, with new ambitions, 
great hopes and a widespread sense of optimism. 

Tliree impressions of New China stand out clearly in my mind. 
One is its undoubted aspect as the culminating event of Asian 
resurgence. In the controversy aroused by the communist 
character of its revolution, people, more especially in Europe, have 
been inclined to overlook this basic fact. This resurgence began 
with the Kuomintang, and in its early and Hberal days it repre- 
sented the great forward movement of Asian peoples in the inter- 
mediate period between the two wars. It was not merely the 
corruption and the poHtical and mihtary weakness of the Kuo- 
mintang regime and its utter dependence on Aunerica that had 
deprived “nationahst” China of its position in the vanguard of 
Asian awakening, but also the fact thatithad ceased to represent the 
new spirit of Asia. The communist leaders, not because of their 
communism but because they had a greater appreciation of the 
change that had come over the Asian mind, showed from the 
beginning a profound realization of the problems of Asia in relation 
to the "West and to America and were therefore more in sympathy 
with their neighbours. 

Secondly, the new Government in China appeared to me the 
fulfilment of a hundred years of evolution — the movement 
towards a strong central government which the great mandarins 
of the later Manchu period had themselves initiated. The Kuomin- 
tang had carried the movement forward fo some extent; had 
estabhshed a Government whose authority extended over a large 
area of China. External circumstances, the intervention of Japan, 
the attitude of the great powers, the alliance of the Chinese 
capitahst classes who had also come to wield great poHtical 
authority wdth the capitahsts of the West, and the strength of the 



THE END OF A MISSION 


177 


local war lords in outlying areas had prevented its consummation. 
With the establishment of the communist r%ime, there came 
into existence in China for the first time in history a strong 
unified central government having authority over the entire area 
of the old Celestial Empire, from the borders of Siberia to Indo- 
china and from the Pacific to the Pamirs. In the old imperial 
times, under the Hans, the Tangs, the Yuans, the Mings, and the 
Manchus, no doubt the Empire had been united under a central 
authority, but the character of that authority, dependent on the 
mystique of a Son of Heaven with a divine mandate exercising 
his control through great viceroys, was different firom the all- 
pervasiveness of the Central People’s Government with the whole 
paraphernalia ofrail and air communications, telegraph and wireless 
and, above all, a powerful national army and an indoctrinated 
and disciplined party spread all over the country. This central- 
ization may or may not be a good thing, but it is a fact of 
supreme importance as it has converted what was an inchoate 
mass into a united nation, capable of organizing and bringing into 
use the immense resources of China. By this process China had 
become in fact, what it had always claimed to be, a Great 
Power. 

Abbot, in his Expansion of Europe says: “Among the many 
diverse events which make a period memorable in history none is 
more striking than the rise of a State to equality or supremacy 
among the powers of the world. Preceded almost invariably by a 
long period of slow development, precipitated by the advent of 
some extraordinary circumstance, or the ambition or ability of 
some individual, and culminating for the most part in a great 
convulsion, a final arbitrament of arms, with its vast expenditure 
of energy, treasure, and blood, and the relative decline and re- 
adjustment of other powers of the pohty into which the new 
power thrusts its way, this recurrent phenomenon of history is at 
once the chief motive of progress and distinction in the drama of 
politics.” This phenomenon was in fact what we were witnessing in 
the Far East. China had becomeaGreat Power and was insisting on 
being recognized as such. The adjustments which such a recogni- 
tion requires are not easy, and the conflict in the Far East is the 

M 



IN TWO CHINAS 


178 

outcome of this contradiction. This could be seen in every aspect 
of the life of New China, in its assertiveness, in its belligerence, in 
its defiance of those who deny her rights, no less than in the 
enthusiasm of the people, in the great release of energy which can 
be seen everywhere, in the determination to catch up with other 
nations, not only in power, but in industrial and other greatness. 
It is in fact one of the main motive forces of whatever is good and 
bad in New China. 

The third characteristic which impressed me was China’s 
desire to maintain the continuity of her life and culture, while 
destroying ruthlessly what the leaders of new thought described 
as feudal and reactionary excrescence. The Chinese have shown 
no desire to be anything other than Chinese. Their admiration of 
the achievements of the Soviet Union has not led them either to 
give up their clothes, their food, their courtesies, or their ways of 
life. Determined enemies of Confucianism, with its five obediences 
and its rituals, its canonical texts, and its artificial ways of writing 
and speaking, the leaders of New China have been able to relate 
their present to their past by a re-interpretation of their history. 
The veneration and care with which, they preserve their ancient 
monuments, the new life they have given to old forms of artistic 
expression, the enthusiasm for research into the earher periods of 
Chinese history — all these are evidences of the same spirit. 

The desire for education, for rapid advancement in all fields, a 
determination to quicken the tempo of things generally, were 
evident everywhere. No doubt the driving force came from the 
co mmunis t party, but large sections of people seemed to me to 
have been infected by this enthusiasm. They showed Httle toler- 
ance for those who hung back, and were ruthless with people 
who opposed all this activity. That strange phenomenon the “San 
Fan” movement, which was organized as a great national struggle 
against “bureaucratism,” complacency and general sHding back, 
was but one aspect of this determined drive towards advancement. 
Am ong the cadres even of the communist party, in the universi- 
ties, among business circles, firom top to bottom there was, for a 
period of six months, a vigorous campaign organized on a 
national scale which involved puhHc accusations, confessions, and 



THE END OP A MISSION 


179 

Strange procedures amounting to what appeared to me as psycho- 
logicd torture, the sole object of which was to ensure purity in 
public conduct and greater efficiency in work. The objects were 
no doubt excellent but the means somehow made me think of the, 
Inquisition and other earlier attempts to purify the human mind 
by force. 

In general I may summarize my impression of New China as a. 
tremendous upheaval which has transformed what was a highly 
civilized but imorganized mass of people into a great modem 
State. It has released great energies, given the Chinese people a 
new hope, and a new vision of things. It has brought forth great 
enthusiasm and an irresistible desire to move forward, but the 
means employed to achieve these very desirable ends are in many 
cases of a kind which revolts the free mind. Compared to the 
State the individual has lost all value and this is the strange thing 
in China which adds a tinge of sorrow even when one appreciates 
and admires what the revolution has done for China and Asia 
generally. 



INDEX 


Acheson, 104 
Ajanta, 160 
Alley, Rcwc, 132 

American Policy, on China, 38-40, 
67-68, 134; on Far East, 168 
Amethyst, H.M.S., 57, 59 
An Si, 152, 161 
Arsen, Baron Van, 51, 58 
Asia, South-East, policy for, 55 
Atal, Dr., 132 


Bajpai, G. S., 16 
Bao Dai, 141, 142 
Beg, Zahid, 153 
Bertrand, Col., 126 
Bevin, Ernest, 103, 104, in 
‘Bhagavad Gita,’ 55 
Bikaner, Maharaja of, 7, 8, 18 
Bikaner State, effect of ^dia’s partition 
on, 7, 8; movement of refugees 
across, 1-9; effect of Kashmir de- 
velopments on, 15 
Buddhism in China, i6r 
Burgin, 93, 165 

Burma, conditions in, 65, 169; and 
China, 169; and India, 170 
Butler, R. A., 167 


Canton, 44 

Chang Chih-chim, 39, 40, 43 
Chang Han-fii, 88, 100, loi, 103, 114, 
117, 119-121 

Chang Huseh-liang, 41, 144 
Chang Lan, 60, 84 
Chen Chia-kang, 100, 109, 119 
Chen Li-fii, 22, 23 
Chen Pu-li, 27 
Chen Yi, 173, 174 
Chiang Ching-kuo, 32, 37 
Chiang Kai-shek, 19, 21, 22, 30, 36, 44 > 
86, 90, 128, 144, 145, 174; penonal- 
ity, 25, 27, 82; growing opposition 
to, 37, 38, 39; dei^t and wididrawal, 
40; fugitive regime in Chungking, 
67; offer of troops for Korea, 104 
Chiang Klai-shek, Madame, 25, 26, 28 
33 ; failure of mission to U.S.A., 40 
Chiao Chuan, 151 


Chiao Kan-hua, 64, 121 
Chien Lung, 80 

China, Communist, proclamation of 
Government, 49, 50, 61; life in, 50- 
53, 96-100; recognition of; .67-69; 
foreign policy, 59, 72; action against 
counter-revolutionaries, 128; policy 
towards missionaries, 128; land re- 
form, I 34 '-'I 37 » 149-150; and Ameri- 
ca, 67, 114, 134; and Burma, 169; 
and France, 166; and India, 67, 72, 
100, 134, 171; goodwill mission ffom 
India, 137; cultural mission to India, 
170; and United Nations, 142; im- 
portance in world affairs, 176, 177- 
179 (see also Chou En-lai, Mao 
Tse-tung) 

China, Kuomintang, life in, 21, 23, 24; 
opposition to, 37-39; collapse of, 40; 
negotiations with communists, 43, 
46-48; and America, 27-28, 38, 39, 
40; and India, 26 (see also Chiang 
Kai-shek) 

Cho Mu, 64 

Chou En-lai, 43, 61, 69, 78, 79, 83, 88, 
89, 90, 91, 100, 105, 106, 107, no, 
III, 114, 118, 119, 122, 123, 128, 143 > 
145, 147, 170, 171, 172, 175; per- 
sonality, 78^9 
Chow, Dr. S. R., 24 
Chungking, 67 
Chu Teh, 82, 83, 88 
College for Minorities, 163 
Commonwealth Premiers’ Conference, 
121 

Constituent Assembly, India's, 16 
Czechoslovakia, ii, 12; andU.S.A., 12; 
and United Nations, 12 

Dan, Madame, 97, 98 
Davis, Judge Tom, 54 
Davies, T. C., 20 
‘Discovery of India,’ 70 
Double Tenth, 3 ^> 37 
Dulles, Foster, 68 

Eden, Anthony, 167 
Empson, William, 96 
Entezam, 120 



INDEX 


l8l 


Fa Pi, 23 

Feng Yu-hsiang, 86 
finaltea, M., 60 
Fonseca, Dr., 20 
Formosa, 41 
Fu Tso-yi, Gen., 23, 35 

Gandhi, Mahatma, I 3 » 79 
Ghait, Lc, 60 
Ginling College, 25, 49 
Gobi Desert, 151 
Grantham, Sir Alexander, 64 
Greece, ii 


HiuenTsang, 145, 146, 153, 155 
Hoang, 140 

Ho Chi Minh, 141, 166 
Hong Kong, 64, 65, 134 
Ho Ying-chin, 90 
Hsuchow, 38, 39 
Huang Ming, 145 
Huang Huai, 58, 61 
Huang Wei-pai, 60, 84 
Hundhausen, Vincent, 95, 96, 97 
Hu Shih, Dr., 22, 24, 35, 44 
Hutchison, Sir John, 94 
Hyderabad State, 15 

Inchon, 107 

India, effects of partition of, 7-9 
Indian Mission to China, 171 
Indian Republic, anniversary of, 124 
Indians in China, 28, 29 
Indians in American Military Police, 

41-43 

indians in Hong Kong, 65 
Indo-China, French policy in, 168 
Indo-Pakistan relations, 71 
Ismay, Lord, 167 

Jewish State, 12 


Kang Hsu, Emperor, 88, 97 
Karens, 66 

Kashmir, tribal invasion of, 14 
Kashmk and India, 14, 1$ 

Kashmir and U.S.A., 15; and United 
Nations, 167 
Kaul, T. N,, 114 


Korea, conflict in, 102, 103 ; and U.S.A., 
103, 107, 108, III, 114, 120, 123, 124; 
and United Nations, 103, 120, 123, 
124, 140; and China, 103, 104, 108, 
1 12, 1 14, 1 16; and Russia, 104, 142; 
and Iniia, 103, 121, 140, 168, 171; 
and U.K., in, 114, 115; and Arab- 
Asian Group, 118, 119 
Korean Commission, in, 115 
Kumar, Dr. Virendra, 58, 61, 127, 135, 
136, 143 

‘Kumara Sambbava,’ 55 
Kung, David, 33, 37 
Kung, H. H., 33 
Kuomintang (see China) 

Kuo Mo-jo, 60, 84, 85 
Kwangsi, 22 


Lamb, Sir Leo, 94 
Lanchow, 162 

Legadon Quarter in Peking, 77 
Lend-Lease, 27 
Lenin, 82 

Li Chi-shen, 60, 61, 64, 84 

Li Han-fu, 163 

Li Tch-chuan, Madame, 86 

Li Tsung-jen, 22, 38, 41, 43, 44 * 4 ^ 

Lin Pao, Gen., 36 

Lin Tun Shan, 144, 145 

Liu Po-cheng, 38 

Liu Po-chi, 174 

Liu Shao-ohi, 84 

Lloyd, Selwyn, 167 

Lo Chia-lun, Dr,, 20 

Loezy, Prof. L. de, 153 

Lotus Lake, 20 

Lu Chung-yi, 126 


Ma Hai-tai, 133 
Ma Huang Kwd, 164 
Ma Mu-ming, 75 

MacArthur, 40, 41* I 33 » i 34 

MacDonald, Malcolm, 56 
Mahdi, Imk, 93, 140 
Malik, Yakov, 142 
Manchuria, 36, 37 > 38 , 142, 17 ^ 
Manuelsky, 10 

Mao Tse^tung, 23, 28, 35, 3^* 37 , 4 ^, 43r 
47 , 59 , < 5 i, 69, 73 , 79 , 109, 124, U 9 . 
147, 148, 149, 172; personality, 79, 
80, 81, 82, 89 



INDEX 


182 


Marshall, General, 14, 21 
Marshall Plan, ii 
Masaryk, Jan, 12 
Mei L^-fang, 13 1, 174 
Menon, Krishna, 10, 167, 175 
Meyrier, M., 44 
Meyrier, Madame, 39 
Mimi-Khiang, Daw, 66 
Monckton, Walter, 167 
Mo Tan (see Shen Ying-ping) 
Mountbatten, Lady, 167 
Mountbatten, Lord, 167 


Naidu, Sarojini, 7, 16, 17, 18, 29 
Nanking, 19-31, 33 » 38, 4 W 7 i 49 , 52, 
56, 58, 72, 98, 129, 130 
Nehru, Jawaharlal, 7, 15, 16, 25, 28, 61, 
68, 70, 79, 82, 90, 103, 104, 105, no, 
112, 120, 121, 122, 123, 164, 168 
Nehru, R. K., 165 
Nepal, 171 

New China (see China, Communist) 
Nieh Yen-jung, Gen., 108 
Nu, Thakin, in, 168 
Nu, U, 64, 65, 169 


Officer, Keith, 51, 56 
Opera, Kun, 13 1 
Opera, Peking, 130 
Opera, Shensi, 146, 147 

Pai Chxmg-hsi, 22, 39 
Palestine^ 12; and United Nations, 12, 
13 ; and India, 12 

Pandit, Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi, 7, 10, 12, 
14, 16, 26, 171, 172, 174 
Patel, Vallabhai, 15, 67, 113 
Pearson, Lester, 120 
Peita University, 35, 3 6 
Peking, life in, 93-101 ; secret societies 
in, 126-130; cultural activity, 99, 130, 
131; opera, 130; May Day in, 139 
Pel^g Lu, 20 
Peking University, 24, 96 
Pelliot, 156 
Pengpu, 39 

People’s Liberation Army, 23, 50, 51, 

64, 83 

Po Yi-po, 36 
Poyang, 71 


Pu Yi, Emperor, 94 
Pyongyang, 140 


Rajagopalachari, C., 67 

Rau, B. N., 120, 165, 166 

Rauf, A., 66 

Reading, Lord, 167 

Rezzonico, Clement, 93, 129, 130 

Riberi, Archbishop, 129 

Romulo, Brigadier, 105 

Roschin, Gen. N. V., 67, 70, 93, 126 

Roy, B. C., 10 


San Tsai, 127 
Sen, A. K., 62, 69, 108 
Shanghai, 19, 28. 30, 31-33, 47, 56, 57, 
58, 74 , 75 . 90 
Shanta Rao, 171, 172, 173 
Shao Li-tse, 43 
Shen Ying-ping, 86, 12 1 
Shen Chun-ju, 86 
Shih Liang, Madame, 86 
Sian, 143-146 
Sinkiang, 47, 67 
Songgram, Pibiil, 105 
Soong Mei-ling (see Madame Chiang) 
Soviet Union, and India, 10, ii; and 
Korea, ii, 104, 142; and Greece, ii; 
and U.S.A., ii 
Stalm, 104 

States, Princely, and Indian Union, 7 
Stein, Sir Aurel, 153-155 
Stevenson, Sir Ralph, 20, 48, 57 
Stuart, Dr. Leighton, 48, 59 
Suchy, Kaze, 165 
Sun Fo, 22, 44, 64 
Sun Su-chen, 126 
Sun Yat-sen, 20, 21, 22 
Sun Yat-sen, Madame, 18, 28, 29, 60, 
61, 109, 173 


Tai Chi-tao, 22 
Taipeh, 128 

Taiwan, 103, 105, 107, 128 
Taku Bar, 72 
Tang Caves, 158-162 
Thein Mynt, 93, 107 ’ 

Tibet, and China, 21, 105, 112, 113, 114; 
and India, 102, 113, 116, 171, 175; 
Sino-Indian Settlement on, 171, 175 



INDEX 


Tientsin, 38, 57 » 74 
Tiger Chiang, 32 
Tnunan, President, 102, 118, 133 
Tsinan, 33, 34 

Tunghuang, I 52 -I 53 »I 5 < 5 , 157 » 160-162 
Tunghuang Caves, 143 
Tunghuang Institute, 156, 160 
Tzu Hsi, Empress, 97 


Union, Indian and Princely States, 7 
United Nations, importance of 1947 
Session, ii; Free India’s first delega- 
tion to, 7, 10; and Korea, ii, 12, 103, 
107, III, 120, 123, 124, 140; and 
Greece, ii, 12; and Palestine, 12, 13; 
and China, 142; Paris session, 164 


Vietnam and India, 140 
Village life in China, 136, 13 7, 146, 162, 
163 


Wai Chiaopu, 75, 112, 114, 116, 122, 

123, 134 

Wang, Dr. Anna, 28 
Wang Ching-wei, 27, 57 
Wang Jo-ju, 75 
Wang Ping-nan, 28, 75 


183 

Wang Shih-chieh, Dr., 21, 24, 44, 45 
Wang Tao-shih, 153-155 
Wedgewood, CoL Josiah, 12 
Weizmann, President Chaim, 12, 13 
Wezi Kop 5 94, 140, 142 
Wong Wen-hao, 37 
Womeni n New China, 75 
Wu, K. C., 18, 25, 29-31, 49 
Wu Han, 75 
Wu Te-chen, 44 


Yang Kwei Fei, 144-149 

Yangtse Development Q)rporation, 33 

Yeh, George, 21, 31 

Yen, W. W., 43 

Yen Hsi-shan, 64 

Yenan, 144, 145, 147 

Yi Kuan-tao, 126-128 

Yu Ta-wei, 24 

Yu Yu-jen, 22 

Yuan, examination, 23 

Yuan, control, 21, 22, 37 

Yuan, gold, 32, 36 

Yuan, legislative, 21, 22, 37, 38, 44 

Yuan Shih-kai, 51 

Yunnan, 47 


Zionists and Palestine, 12